Notes Reflection

I will be reviewing my notes when analyzing the text entitled Hamlet by William Shakespeare and Zeffirelli’s film Hamlet from 1990. When analyzing the notes taken in comparison to watching a film and reading a play, there are many differences in the details that I take in. When reading a play, the reader usually takes notes regarding the style of language, the diction used, or the flow of sentences. We use our imagination to dictate our emotions towards the play, and there was much room to create a story to fill in the blanks of what is missing. Such as the appearances of the characters, the tone of voice used, the set design, and the expressions of the characters’ faces. However when watching a film, we are told the story and shown the dialogue in a fixed manner. Instead of us having to create the scene in our minds, we are shown it. This may give the reader a better understanding of how the script may be interpreted. Along with this, the reader tends to take notes revolving around subjects other than the script, such as music, editing, camera angles, tone of voice, or costumes of the characters.


I found when analyzing the film Hamlet by Zeffirelli, my notes revolved around many different factors. I made points regarding how there is an extensive use of bird’s eye view in the film. For example, at the end of the film, the camera slowly goes up to show a wider view of the surroundings as Hamlet dies. This may give the viewer a greater perspective of those watching Hamlet, as well as demonstrate the devastation of the scene as many die around them. However in the play, the final scene contains more words said then in the film. What I noted in my margins was more the play on words, such as “flights of angels sing thee to thy rest” (5.2.334) which demonstrates the heavenly beings that will watch over Hamlet and help him to be at peace in the afterlife. In reading the play, there is more space to assemble the tone of the characters. I noted that I felt it was difficult for me to follow along with what was happening in the plot. With the help of music and body language, the 1990 film was much easier to follow. In the play, I also noted many examples of symbolism and metaphors or similes that were not demonstrated in the film Hamlet. The use of emphasis on language may change the way the reader, such as myself, interprets the text and this surely occurred in my situation. In the play, I found many small details that I took note on that aided with a visual perception of the scene as well as emotion.



When we are given the freedom to imagine the scene when reading a text, it allows us to be more subjective about the play. However in the film, we are given an objective view of an interpretation of that text. We as the viewer do not have control over how the text is manifested when watching a film. I believe that when reading the text, this gives us a sense of freedom of exploring the creative, imaginative side in all of us to subjectively analyze the text. Therefore, my notes when comparing those to a play and a film are very different. In my notes regarding the play, there is more analysis involving the meaning of words and diction, as well as summarizing my idea of what is occurring in the play. When reviewing my notes in the film, it mainly focuses on the direction of the film, not as much on the actual script. There is no better or worse type of notes in my opinion because each set offers something different to how I may later look back on them. I will gain different ideas from either notes because they each give me a better understanding of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Therefore there is no pair that is more successful because they each offer a component to my understanding of Shakespeare.

After reviewing my notes, I may find that each are different in their style and interpretation of Shakespeare, yet both are equally important to my learning experience. I may say that my notes on the film were of a greater success because it was easier to find more detail in the film compared to the play. This is due to the visual aspects involved in film because I find that I absorb the visual components of learning easier than that of text. Therefore, I found more to write about on the film compared to the play. When analyzing my annotative practices, I believe that I have a solid foundation on how to take notes when analyzing the play and movie of Hamlet, yet I will continue to try to improve my skills by striving to decipher the lines more deeply in Shakespeare.

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