Comic Relief Of Hamlet Essay

1395 words - 6 pages


A Portrayal of Humor Within the Tragedy of Hamlet
How does humor factor into a tragedy? Shakespeare knew the answer to this question and acted upon it quite frequently. Shakespeare has been known to write comedies and tragedies both but this does not qualify him at to not incorporate a little of each into each other. In the work of Hamlet there are many occasions where Shakespeare uses it for different effects. The main reason for the presence of humor within a tragedy is to keep the reader interested. Shakespeare uses many forms of humor including but not limiting wit, pun’s, and casual jokes. In the work of Hamlet, Hamlet is usually the character that Shakespeare chooses to bring out the humor in anything. He becomes a very diverse character in this sense considering he can make a joke out of dead people and even people he kills. Rather a charming person in the face of unpleasant events.
     To be able to understand humor, we must accept that we cannot understand all of it. Why something is funny is only determined by the reader and him or herself alone. The smile is the natural expression of the satisfaction that attends the success of any striving. Hamlet often finds humorous occasions especially after he has done something that affects another character. He takes the “inside joke'; to the limits and smiles upon the defeat of his enemies. This is especially true with the relationship between him and his father-by-marriage. Hamlet puts on the play so that he may have a reassurance that his true father was wrongfully killed by his uncle Claudius. Once the play had ended so abruptly Hamlet smiles upon the dismay of Claudius knowing that he has finally found the source of revenge. This is not so much humor in a good since but rather a cynical wit of Hamlet. Because of this sort of wit, Hamlet is considered to be a mentally sick person but Hamlet is however sane in his actions.
     Hamlet is one to be labeled as a quite witty person. He is rather quick with his words and able to manipulate them is such a fashion to motivate the reader to seek more of this character. Wit becomes a part of him that shows itself more than ever. In a book by the name of The Psychology of Laughter and Comedy, it gives a description of two main species of wit. These are listed as harmless wit and tendency wit and are both used in the work or Hamlet (Greig 199). An example of harmless wit is the time that Hamlet has just come out of hiding after the slaying of Polonius. Hamlet then is questioned of the whereabouts of the corpse of Polonius and Hamlet then replies, “At supper.'; Then Hamlet refers to the decomposition of the human body proving what he said was true in a comic sense. To prove the existence of tendency wit we have a scenario in which Hamlet and Polonius are judging the clouds. Hamlet shifts his view of the cloud from a camel to a weasel is a form of exaggerated comic...

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