Hamlet And Comic Relief


A distinguishing and frequently mystifying feature of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet is the presence of dark humor: constant wordplay, irony, riddles, clowning, and bawdy repartee. The language of Hamlet is cleverly and specifically designed in the guise of Shakespeare’s dark humor. In regards to all uses of comedy and wit, the language of this play is meant to be pleasing to the audience but not to the characters. This concept is essential in understanding what place comedy has in a tragedy such as Hamlet. Hamlet’s very use and style of language, especially the use of the pun, the dialogue with the minor character Polonius, and the graveyard scene reveals ...

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comic uses.
Act one introduces the reader to Hamlet, who seems to be showing signs of strong angst towards his elders, but uses biting remarks to defend himself. Hamlet believes that humor (albeit sarcastic humor) suggests a nimble and flexible mind, as well as an imagination. Wittenberg is a pinnacle of wits, which is where, of course, Hamlet wants to return to (Watts 94). “A little more than kin, and less than kind” (1.2.65). Hamlet’s first words in the play show him playing with words in order to state a paradox: Claudius is twice related to him, as uncle and stepfather, but not really his kin or kind at all. Immediately thereafter, the king questions, “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” (1.2.66) Hamlet responds with, “Not so, my lord, I am too much in the sun” (1.2.67). He means that the king has called Hamlet “son” too often (Fisch 220). “Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meats / Did ...

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references to Hamlet. Hamlet describes “actions that a man might play” (1.2.84) when his mother questions his sorrow. Then, when Hamlet meets the ghost of his father, he says to himself, “Whiles memory holds a seat / In this distracted globe” (1.5.103-4). Hamlet perhaps gestures to his head, symbolizing a globe, but it is interesting to note that Shakespeare’s theater was named The Globe (Thomson 19). “While memory holds a seat” adds to the theatric pun, providing a subtle advertisement pitch.
The comic world is frankly controlled and unified (Weitz 64), whereas the tragic world is one that has many possible routes and directions. ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 3/18/2005 08:37:43 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3515
Pages: 13

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