Comic elements in “Hamlet”
Name: Sejal Chauhan
Paper No: 1
Paper Name:The Renaissance Literature
Roll No: 31
Submitted to: Smt.S.B. Gardi , Department of English
Various purposes served by Comic
Shakespearean tragedy serves various purposes.
In the first place, the introduction of comic elements
shows the diversity of life which is not just matter of
sorrows, sufferings and tears but which also has its
Secondly, the comic elements in a tragic play serve to
relieve the tension when it becomes unbearable.
Four Sources of Comedy in
The unconscious humour provided by polonious.
The satirical and mordant wit of Hamlet.
The wit and humour of the grave-diggers scene.
The affected and euphuistic style of the conversation
between Osric and Hamlet
The unconscious Humour of
Polonius’s Converstion with Reynaldo
“ Reynaldo. My lord, that would dishonour him. Polonius.
Faith, no…..”(Act II, Scene i)
Polonius garrulity is another source of comedy.
When Ophelia says that Hamlet has been making “many
tender of his affection” to her,Polonius picks up the word
“tender”and begins to play on it.
“Marry, I’ll teach you; think yourself a baby,that you have
ta’en these tenders for true play, which are not
sterling.Tender yourself more dearly;or-not to crack the
wind of the poor phrase, running it thus- you’ll tender me a
Hamlet’s satirical and mordant wit
King address him as “my cousin Hamlet and my son”.
Hamlet:A little more than kin,and less than kind”.
Queen and Hamlet shows Hamlet’s cynical and
Queen:Hamlet,thou hast thy father much offended.
Hamlet: Mother,you have my father much offended.
Queen: Come, come ,you answer with an idle tongue.
Hamlet: Go,go, you question with a wicked tongue.
His wit in his Speech to Polonius
Hamlet’s wit is even more biting when he speaks to
Polonius: “Do you know me,my lord?
“Hamlet replies: Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
His wit in his conversation with
In Act III, Scene 1
He adds: get thee to a nunnery, go; farewell.
In the same scene
I could interpret between you and your love, if I could
see the puppets dallying.
The Humour in the Grave Diggers’
The grave-diggers scene provides much fun and
“Here lies the water; good; here stands the man;good;
if the man:good; if the man go to this water and drown
himself, it is, will he nill he, he goes; mark you that;
but if the water come to him and drown him, he
drowns not himself.”
The Humour in Hamlet’s
Conversation with Osric
He calls a “water-fly” very well.
Hamlet treating him as a fool.
When Osric says it is very hot.
Hamlet tell him it is very cold.
Courtier agrees that it is cold.
Hamlet then says that it is very sultry and
hot,whereupon Osric again agrees, saying that it is