In Lesson 19 of the videotape "Literary Visions", the actor performs two interpretations of the monologue, "To be or not to be". As said in the video, there are many ways that an actor can choose to interpret that particular speech in Hamlet. Many actors relish the opportunity to perform Hamlet, because of that particular speech. In a play, the actors' interpretation of the character is what gives the audience the background and insights into the characters' feelings, since there is not a narrator, like in a short story. Each actor's version of Hamlet is different, and therefore the interpretation by the audience will be different. There is not a right or wrong interpretation, but a change in the actor's tone of voice or facial expressions, can transform the meanings of the words. As seen in the video, the actor's two interpretations of "To be or not to be" from the video are very different from each other.
In the first rendition of "To be or not to be", the actor speaks quieter that I would have expected. Hamlet is portrayed as being extremely serious in this version. He continues to look up in space throughout the monologue, as if he is asking a question and looking for the answer, since he is very perplexed about what he should do in order to "cleanse the state." Hamlet is facing an internal dilemma because he has to decide whether or not he is going to kill in order to make things better. He ponders the pros and the cons of his decisions, in order to distinguish which choice would be the best. By speaking in a lower voice, and by acting so introspective, Hamlet seems like he has been defeated, as if he cannot decide what to do. Towards the end of the monologue, Hamlet does get a bit mad, out of frustration, since he cannot figure out what he should do.
In the second version of "To be or not to be", the actor portrays Hamlet as if he is in a raging fury. His tone of voice is much louder in the second version and his facial expressions are extremely tense. He is a man who is raging out of despair. He speaks through his teeth, since he is so tense he is clenching them together. In this version, Hamlet is not pondering a decision, he is mad because he must make a decision. Hamlet does not want to resort to violence, but he is realizing that he is going to have to, and that is what is making him so angry. Hamlet is vengeful that he is being forced to make this decision, which is leading him to become extremely angry.
Of the two versions of "To be or not to be", the first one is more believable and in character. I think of Hamlet as a calmer person, who does not want to resort to violence at all, but knows that he must. This makes him very upset because he is a peaceful person. The fact that he seems so helpless in the first version is what is so believable. Up until this part of the play, I do not think of Hamlet as a very angry and vengeful person, but more as a person struggling with an inner conflict. I think the first version of "To be or not to be" portrays Hamlet the best.