film/costume : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

What do the colors the characters wear in Branagh's movie? Blue, thecharaters that weaer blue, what does it mean?

-- randy (, March 04, 2003


Branagh, or his costume designer, likes blue? There's a lot of red, a lot of white, a lot of blue, and of course, black. Maybe it's the Union Jack.

Colours have different meanings according to their use. Most of the following comes from CROWELL'S HANDBOOK FOR READERS AND WRITERS, ed. by Henrietta Gerwig, New York, 1925. Blue means hope, and things like piety, sincerity, faith and faithfulness, modesty, humility, even chastity. Pale blue means peace, or serenity. Red can signify martyrdom, charitable love, fortitude, but these days it commonly has associations with evil (eg. Satan often wears red or red and black) and impropriety ('scarlet women'). Green can mean faith, and also joy, abundance, love, youth, regeneration, immortality, victory. White is purity, innocence, simplicity, uncorruptedness. Black is of course death, grief, despair, also evil and falsehood. In heraldic blazonry, though, it means prudence, wisdom and constancy.

-- catherine england (, March 05, 2003.

Light blue, along with yellow, are traditional colors of virginity (the Virgin Mary is most often shown wearing blue and yellow). Since blue has this meaning, costume designers should be careful with what characters they robe in blue. Shakespeare would have certainly known this symbolism.

-- Catherine C. England (, May 24, 2003.

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