Puns In Hamlet

Decent Essays

In the play Hamlet, by playwright William Shakespeare, witty lines were included to reveal different elements throughout the play. Hamlet uses puns to reveal different elements throughout the play. For example, Hamlet uses puns to insult and confuse Polonius and Ophelia, so they continue to believe he is not mentally stable. Hamlet also used puns to reveal his anger towards multiple characters throughout the play, while trying to fulfill the Ghost’s instructions, which were to kill Claudius without causing unnecessary pain on Gertrude. Hamlet antagonized Polonius by telling him, “...You are a fishmonger,” to confuse and insult Polonius. This is humorous because Hamlet is trying to compare Polonius to a fisherman, on account of Polonius trying to fish answers from Hamlet. Fishmonger is also an alternate word for a pimp, which insulted Polonius because he believed Hamlet was referring to Ophelia as the whore. Which is proven during the conversation when Polonius starts talking to himself about how Hamlet being in love with his daughter and how Hamlet is far too gone. Though this line is meant to confuse Polonius, which is proven when Polonius agrees with almost everything Hamlet says, it leaves Polonius bitter and Hamlet satisfied with himself. Before the play within the play, Hamlet talks to Ophelia and tells her, “Get thee to a nunnery.” Hamlet uses the word nunnery on the account of it having two meanings, which are convent and brothel. Hamlet uses this play on words to

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