Hamlet – The Denmark Corporation

One of my first encounters with great literature was reading Hamlet. It was on our reading list for literature, but for me it was much more than just an obligation. I was enthralled by this play and mainly by its language. Why not speak like this, with contempt for the time which is “out of joint”?

Hamlet -The Denmark Corporation is a modern cinematic adaptation of the text, New York is the place of action, Denmark a corporation, the castle Helsingor the corporations main building and Hamlet a video artist. I enjoyed once more the text and its profound conflicts, resulting in the death of nearly all main characters. But there is a huge discrepancy between the text, which was not adopted at all, and the setting, which was completely adopted. So the transformation, although courageously intended, was not complete. And also the characters are very difficult to understand, what possibly is intentional as high culture must always be hard to grasp (see a German critical review of the movie).

Nevertheless the power of language remains on the positive side. The film starts and my entry ends with the following quote, which is realized as a blurry, cell phone video message.

What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust?