Kenneth Branagh Shakespeare Authorship Essay

The Sonnet Projectis a completely crazy idea dreamed up by Ross Williams from NY Shakespeare Exchange. 154 sonnets, 154 NYC locations, 154 actors. It’s a tapestry of cinematic art that infuses the poetry of William Shakespeare into the poetry of New York City. It’s huge, it’s visceral and it’s right here.

We began this project as a continuation of our mission – getting new audiences to like Shakespeare.   After raising almost $50,000 in a Kickstarter campaign we embarked on a journey – to film all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, each performed by a different actor in a carefully chosen New York City location. It began as project with a deadline – by Shakespeare’s 450th birthday (April 23rd 2014) all 154 sonnets would be assigned, filmed and released on our website and YouTube.

The Sonnet Project very quickly blossomed into something more. It became apparent that each sonnet was not simply a ‘video’ – not simply an actor standing at a monument reciting a sonnet – but a short independent film. Every single sonnet required time and effort beyond our imagining. But the finished product! Each one is expansive, narrative – a work of art.

We decided to focus on the journey rather than the destination – the Project will not be finished by April. But that’s ok. In fact, it’s more than ok because the Project has exploded into a sprawling, barely controllable, ever-growing, ever-changing tribute to Shakespeare’s art, New York City, and the artists that live here. And we love it.

Click here to read the NY Times article about the project.

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Sites about Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, needs to avenge his father's murder; this is complicated by the fact that the murderer is his own uncle, who has married Hamlet's mother (Gertrude). Hamlet eventually gets his revenge, but not before just about everyone dies.

Characters: Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude, Polonius, ghost of Hamlet's father
Keywords: Denmark, play within a play, Oedipus complex

Critical sites about Hamlet

Certain Speculations on Hamlet, the Calendar, and Martin Luther
"This essay takes the view that Shakespeare linked the principal events in Hamletto particular holy days, and that the play's first audiences could identify these holy days from cues in the text." Special attention is paid to the possible relationship between Hamlet and the life and theology of Martin Luther.
Contains: Content Analysis, Historical Context, Character Analysis
Author: Steve Sohmer
From:Early Modern Literary Studies 2.1 (1996): 5.1-51
Hamlet and His Problems
"T.S. Eliot�s essay on Shakespeare�s greatest tragic character in which he coined the famous doctrine of the 'objective correlative.'"
Contains: Character Analysis
Author: T.S. Eliot
From:The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism 1922
Hamlet Haven
An online, annotated bibliography, featuring character studies and different interperative approaches.
Contains: Plot Summary, Character Analysis, Historical Context, Content Analysis, Bibliography,
Author: Harmonie Blankenship
Access Restrictions:
Hamlet's Thoughts and Antics
Essay draft which includes a response by Juliet Fleming.
Author: Margreta de Grazia
From:Early Modern Culture. Issue 2 (2001)
Leading the Gaze: From Showing to Telling in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V and Hamlet
"Film studies have reached the conclusion that cinema merges the acts of showing and telling. This essay applies these theories to two of Kenneth Branagh's screen adaptations Henry V (1989) and Hamlet (1996). Cinematic editing can shape space at will, create different levels of realities, and reorganize the succession of events in time. The moves and effects of the camera, by progressively revealing the people, the set or the action, add a time dimension to space. Cinematic narration defines an itinerary of the gaze, imposing a trajectory inside Shakespeare's plays, until the plots seem to prevail over discourse."
Contains: Content Analysis,
Author: Sarah Hatchuel
From:Early Modern Literary Studies 6.1 (May, 2000): 3.1-22
Making Mother Matter: Repression, Revision, and the Stakes of 'Reading Psychoanalysis Into' Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet
"Hamlet's peculiar bond with his mother has been the focus of numerous productions of Shakespeare's play on stage and screen. Influenced by psychoanalysis, filmed versions of Hamlet in particular have emphasized the desire between sons and mothers and, in so doing, have uncannily reproduced the play's own Oedipalized attachment to the maternal. Following Franco Zeffirelli's mother-centered film (1990), Kenneth Branagh attempts to break with this tradition in his self-proclaimed 'non-Oedipal' Hamlet (1996). Actively positioned against psychoanalysis, Branagh's Hamlet avoids any representations of non-normative sexual desire, repressing the sexualized maternal body with a vengeance and displacing Hamlet's desire onto his surrogate father, who offers 'metal more attractive' for this Hamlet and, as we shall see, for Branagh himself. In so doing, Branagh's adaptation actually becomes the most 'symptomatic' Hamlet film ever made, for it uses this performance as a screen both for projecting -- and for curing--what's the matter with Branagh, namely, his Irish motherland, and his compromised Shakespearean credentials as a postcolonial subject."
Author: Lehmann, Courtney, and Lisa S. Starks.
From:Early Modern Literary Studies 6.1 (May, 2000): 2.1-24
Multiplicity of Meaning in the Last Moments of Hamlet
An analysis of Shakespeare's handling of the final moments of Hamlet's life. Also provided are links to responses to this paper that were written by other Shakespeare scholars, and published in later issues of Connotations.
Author: John Russell Brown
From:Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate 2.1 (1992): 16-33
'Too Much in the (Black) Sun': Hamlet's First Soliloquy, A Kristevan View
"It may appear to be sheer provocation to attempt a psychoanalytic reading of Shakespeare, be it Kristevan or other, in a decade placed under the rule of the New Historicism."
Contains: Content Analysis
Author: Anny Crunelle-Vanrigh
From:Renaissance Forum: An Electronic Journal of Early-Modern Literary and Historical Studies Autumn 1997; vol. 2 no. 2
Keywords: psychoanalysis

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Last Updated Mar 25, 2014


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