Prewrite: Social Media Shakespeare

Overall, I really enjoyed the Social Media Shakespeare project. Having the character Gertrude was a lot of fun for me, as I imagined her to be much like a Real Housewife (only perhaps more real…Gertrude seems to be a genuinely kind woman. The decisions I made for Gertrude were inspired mostly by the Shakespearean text as well as the Olivier adaptation of Hamlet. The Branagh adaptation of Hamlet helped me to better understand the text, however I do not like his interpretation of Gertrude as having an affair with Claudius prior to her husband’s death. Additionally, I did not like the fact that Branagh had his Gertrude being completely unaware of the fact that she intercepted the poisonous drink from Hamlet.

In my modern take on Gertrude, I had her as a young and beautiful woman who cared most about her son and perhaps the idea of being in love rather than actual loving her husband. She was kind, weak, permissive, easily controlled, caring, and had a strong desire to please everyone around her. She took an interest in frivolous things as a way to remain in ignorance and keep herself distracted from the tragedy around her and the mistakes that she knew deep down that she had made. She cared a lot about her own reputation and the reputation of her family. My Gertrude knew deep down exactly what was going on, but did not want to acknowledge it so as to tarnish the reputation of her family. Much like in Olivier’s adaptation, my Gertrude knew inside what she was doing when she took the drink from the cup. It was her attempt to do what was right, and she could no longer live with the mistakes that she made and the fact that she had not listened to her beloved son.

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