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Characterization of Ophelia in Franco Zeffirellis Hamlet The Zeffirellys version of the Shakespeares Hamlet offers the viewers a luxury of seeing the characters of the renowned play in the magnificent settings of a Romanesque castle located on the shore of the North sea Far from avant-garde interpretations and radical changes in the plot and the text Zeffirelly nevertheless managed to make some alterations to the original play that added new meanings and dimensions to the complex and contradictory character of Hamlet as well as other personages The director chose to abandon the theme of political developments in Denmark in which Fortinbras Prince of Norway played the leading role Thus the film focuses on the interior affairs in Denmarks court beginning with the death of the King The elimination of the larger political context of the play allowed the director to put more spotlight on the few major characters crystallizing them and creating a truly unforgettable supporting cast consisting of Gertrude Claudius Ophelia Polonius Laertes and Horatio While most of the characters may seem recognizable from the reading of the play the image of Ophelia played by Helena Bonham-Carter is radically different from the orthodox representation of her as a sweet obedient week-willed and week-minded innocent creature Her striking and unconventional beauty- enormous expressive eyes wide cheekbones babyish mouth and unusually shaped nose are physical attributes of even more unconventionally independent and unsentimental spirit Even though Ophelia does not talk much her mimicry gestures and the tone of her voice define her better then her words In her first scene with Laertes and later Polonius she defends Hamlet firmly and passionately from her fathers fierce warnings of the Princes possible danger and deceptions I iii 110-114 Polonius is outraged in his wish to protect his child and forbids her to even talk to Hamlet After a pause she utters I shall obey my lord in such tone that it is clear that she
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