The gravedigger scene of Hamlet is, in my opinion, the greatest scene in all of Shakespeare. The depth of the moment, the poetry of the lines…wonderful.

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning?

Many actors have taken on the role. However, in my opinion, Mel Gibson did a fantastic job. His emotional delivery was great. His body language, artistic. In short, he captures the idea perfectly: a man grieving at the loss of an old friend.

Hollywood loves to trash on Gibson. His “anti-semetic” rants were over the top, perhaps. But who hasn’t had a salty conversation off camera? Who hasn’t spoke ill about a group of people before? Show me somebody that raises their hand, and I’ll show you a liar.

At any rate, here’s the clip. Gibson jumps right in Hamlet’s consciousness, taking us to a different time and place.

See Related Article: Poetry Review: A Critique of “August 1968” by W.H. Auden

5 thoughts on “On the Greatness of Mel Gibson’s Hamlet

  1. That was a good acting turn.

    Another I had opportunity to contemplate recently was Brando’s Mark Antony. I decided Charlton Heston was better.

    As for Gibson’s off camera antics, I was more disappointed by the demise of his long fruitful Catholic marriage than the anti-Semitic stuff.

    It says a lot that Hollywood didn’t even blink an eye at that.

    1. “Another I had opportunity to contemplate recently was Brando’s Mark Antony. I decided Charlton Heston was better.”

      A lot of the black-and-white versions still hold up well, since so much of their effectiveness is in the reading of the part. I will have to check both of those out.

      1. For man without a face…

        I like Sam Eliot but in all his roles he is Sam Eliot. Gibson is Gibson in a lot of his movies but he is a whole other sort of man in man without a face…… if that makes sense. Any rate to me that was acting vs being on camera

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