What is an example of malapropism (unintentional play on words) in Hamlet? Are there any dialects used in Hamlet (written INTO the text)
I know of examples in other plays: eg, "Comparisons are odorous" (should be odious); "A very paramour for a sweet voice" (should be paragon)
Also, are there any dialects used in Hamlet? I'm pretty sure there isn't. I'm referring to a dialect written into the text; a dialect used by just a few characters; eg. comic characters.
While some may argue Polonius as the champion of misusing the English language, perhaps the best examples from the play are the words of the First Clown. As they prepare Ophelia's grave, the diggers discuss the circumstances surrounding her death (whether or not it should be considered a suicide). The First Clown's argument is as follows:
It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For
here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an(10)
act; and an act hath three branches: it is to act, to do, and to
perform; argal, she drown'd herself wittingly.
In these lines, he mistakes two phrases. "Se offendendo" should read "Se defenden-do", which means self-defense. "Argal" should read "ergo": Latin for therefore. Later in the scene, he also mentions the "crowner's quest law". "Quest" should be "inquest".
As far as dialects are concerned, one might argue that Osric's appearance in V, ii is an example. His overly pompous, pedantic, and affected speech is mimicked by Hamlet, and it's certainly not like anyone else's voice in the play. I suppose the clowns' conversation could be considered dialect, although it's not markedly different from the speech of the royal members of the court. At least, it's not as clearly delineated as it is in other Shakespeare plays (the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, for example).