"There are many comic moments in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'." Discuss this statement, supporting your points by reference to the play.Any points I could start from? Because I never really found it that...

"There are many comic moments in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'." Discuss this statement, supporting your points by reference to the play.

Any points I could start from? Because I never really found it that funny..

Thanks :)

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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I agree with you that Hamlet is not a very funny play; still, it has some humorous moments.

One moment is in Act III Sc. 2, the "play" scene.  Before the play begins, Hamlet asks Polonious if he has ever acted when he was a university student.  Polonious answers that he once played the part of Julius Caesar:

 

I did enact Julius Caesar; I was killed i' the Capitol; Brutus killed me.

Hamlet replies with a humorous insult:

It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there.

His reply includes a play on the words Brutus/brute and capitol/capital, and the insult of referring to Polonius as a calf.   In general, you will find some humor in many of the scenes involving Polonius.

 

The most humorous part of Hamlet is probably Act V, Scene I.  The scene begins with a discussion between two "clowns" who are digging a grave for Ophelia, who has committed suicide.  The clowns engage in a convoluted discussion about whether a suicide victim should be granted a "Christian burial."  Part of the humor is in  the clowns' mispronunciation of legal terms: "se offendendo" for se-defenden-do [in self-defence], and "argal" for ergo [therefore].

 

The clowns continue by posing riddles to each other.  The answers to the riddles are grave-digging and gallows maker.  The scene continues with the appearance of Hamlet and Horatio, who exchange some jokes with the grave-digging clowns.

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