Comparison / Contrast of Hamlet the play to the movie Hamlet by William Shakespeare is a story about a king that was murdered by his brother and the prince has been asked by his father’s ghost to avenge his murder. The original story line has been altered a few times since it has been written. The original Hamlet the play and the altered Hamlet the movie are shown differently in many different ways. Hamlet the movie with Mel Gibson shows different things than the play, but there are three major differences between the two. The three major differences are in the way both of the productions start out, differences in the scene that the players put on a play, and differences in the way the productions end. The first difference is in the way the play and the movie begins. The play starts out with guards standing guard at the castle with Horatio, Hamlet’s friend. The guards and Horatio are waiting for the ghost of Old Hamlet to arrive so they can find out why he is there. The ghost does arrive twice but does not speak. The scene ends with the guards and Horatio discussing that they should get Hamlet to try to speak to the ghost. Hamlet the movie starts out differently. It starts out with the funeral for King Hamlet with Gertrude standing beside the coffin. Hamlet sprinkles dust over his father’s dead body. The coffin is then covered and Claudius, Old Hamlet’s brother, places his sword over the coffin and Gertrude cries. The second difference is the way the scene is with the player’s putting on their play. In the play, at the end of the player’s play, King Claudius stands up and walks slowly towards the stage and laughs for a minute. He then calls for the lights and leaves. Other people stay behind while Hamlet dances around and sings. Gertrude watches Hamlet and then leaves. In the movie, this scene shows Claudius standing up and yelling “lights” right when Hamlet states that the murderer gains the love of the player king’s wife. Claudius quickly leaves along with everyone else that was watching the play. Hamlet and Horatio are left behind discussing the king’s reaction. Polonius enters and tells Hamlet that the king is upset and that his mother wants to see him.
The third difference is in the way that the play and the movie ends. In the movie, Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, and Laertes die from the poison, either by the sword or the wine. The movie ends with Horatio holding Hamlet while he dies. The play ends completely different. As Hamlet is dying, Horatio tries to drink from the poisoned cup but Hamlet stops him. Hamlet says that he needs Horatio to report all that he has witnessed. A shot is heard from far off and Hamlet asks what it is. He is told that it is Fortinbras, returning from his Polish adventures. Hamlet with his dying breath, names Fortinbras as his successor, then dies. In Summary, with these three examples it is shown that the play and the movie contrast quite a bit. Most of the story line and the dialogue were very similar to the original story in the movie but some things were changed, possibly to shorten the story to be able to make it into a movie.