Comic Relief in Hamlet

Topics: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Shakespearean tragedy Pages: 4 (624 words) Published: December 3, 2014
Eric Thornburg
Intro To Lit
12 November 2014
Professor Baumgartner
Comic Relief in Hamlet
Hamlet is one of the most commonly known plays written by William Shakespeare, however most people do not realize or notice the comedic relief that is placed within the play. Taking away from all the seriousness, Shakespeare added three unique scenes trying to add a comedic twist on to his play. The first comes in Act 2 Scene 2 when Polonius and Hamlet first interact. Next comes the most known comedic scene in the play featuring the gravediggers or clowns as they are sometime refereed to taking place in Act 5 Scene 1. Shortly followed in the next scene is the third act of trying to provide comic relief by using and conversation between Hamlet and Osric. Although there is much seriousness in this play, Shakespeare’s use of comic relief played a strong role in the play.

The first display of Shakespeare’s attempt at comic relief takes place in Act 2 Scene 2, when the first acts of Hamlet possibly “loosing his mind” begin with shouts and rages in a manic way in which can really only be viewed as comedic. An example is when Hamlet is approached by Polonius asking if he has any recognition of him. “Excellent well, sir. You are a fishmonger,” Hamlet murmurs to Polonius in line 175. Combined with much more rambling from Hamlet as well as what is spoken to Polonius, the audience is left charmed for the following scene. The humor coming from Hamlet’s madness is a great distinction with the all out seriousness of the play.

The second part of comic relief in Hamlet comes in Act 5 Scene 1 and is possibly the most recognized comedic moment in the entire play. The gravediggers or as some people refer to them as clowns can be seen as a reoccurring character in a number of Shakespeare’s plays which play a huge role in the comedy of this scene. Hamlet enters after the gravediggers are discussing whether Ophelia deserves a proper burial or not due to her drowning herself. However...
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