The recurring scenes of corruption, revenge, and insanity lead to an understanding of antagonists’ inevitable tragic deaths. The formalist perspective in Shakespeare’s Hamlet creates the basis for this analysis.
Formalism became widespread at the beginning of the 20th century. It was a change in the statement of the priority of content over form. Formalists argued that literature tends to change due to historical circumstances. At the same time, the kinds of art are characterized by high stability. The genre structures of a novel or drama may not undergo significant changes for several centuries.
Formalism is not about relations between people. This idea is that the reader needs to know the structure. Being familiar with relevant cinema, music, and painting is vital for proper analysis. It is essential to understand its structure, words, and expressions. Identifying feelings and emotions that fulfill the work remains superfluous. Formalist critics look closely upon image patterns, figurative language, and irony.
The play includes repeated references to death and rot. Hamlet tells his mother that Claudius is spoiled and ill. He uses the metaphor of a fungus that infects a nearby healthy plant:
Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what’s past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds,
To make them ranker.
This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:
Here is your husband; like a mildew’d ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother.
(Act 3 Scene 4)
Such expressions illustrate how Claudius’ vicious nature affects Denmark. Being an evil and lousy ruler, he can lead the country to devastation. His influence is evident even in the first Act, as Marcellus states:
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
(Act 1, Scene 4)
In Shakespeare’s play, the main features are not actions but the words, especially Hamlet’s monologues. His words cause tragedy, as well as his actions. In this work, language is an essential component. The film by Aki Kaurismäki, Hamlet goes business, shows the freest and the most thorough reading of the play. Despite the literal repetition of dialogues, the story was transferred to modern Finland. The natural shift in value-oriented accents doesn’t interfere with the story’s themes, making them a bit different.