Peter Montgomery wrote:
> Hamlet wants proof that Claudius killed Hamlet's father.
> Othello wants proof that Desdemona has been unfaithful to her
> marriage vows. In Othello's case, Iago stage manages the
> proof, even though Desy was innocent. In Hamlet's case, he
> stage manages the proof in the form of the play within the play.
> He gets good results, but does not seem to feel they are adequate.
The next we see of Hamlet after that scene he makes a snap decision to
the effect that kneeling is proof of grace. Hothead to the last. One of
the oddities of the history of criticism of Hamlet is the use of this
scene as evidence for his inability to make up his mind. It was this
interpretation that really poisoned Olivier's movie of the play. A
theatre historian once suggested to me that as plays were produced in
1600, an uncut version of Hamlet could have been done in about two
hours, with an intermission. And on TV back in 1950 or so they showed
two contrasting ways of playing the same scene. (I forget what scene.)
One production made Hamle indecisive. The other made him a hothead. The
text easily supports either view.