The Comedy of Hamlet Essay

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How does the use of comic relief best contrast the tragedy of Hamlet? In great works of literature a comic relief is used as contrast to a serious scene to intensify the overall tragic nature of the play or to relieve tension. As illustrated in Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, intense scenes are joined with character’s banter and vacuous actions as to add a comic relief. In Hamlet, Polonius acts as a comic relief by his dull and windy personality, Hamlet uses his intelligence and his negativity toward the king and queen to create humor, while on the other hand Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are a comic relief by their senseless actions and naïve natures. Polonius, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are all used as a comic relief to …show more content…

Another instance where Polonius is a comic relief is when Hamlet is inviting the players into the castle. One player breaks into an emotional speech at Hamlets whim and Polonius interrupts with comments. “Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and/ Good discretion.”(IIii,447-448). Polonius is trying to commend the speaker to hasten him. After the speech keeps going on Polonius rudely interrupts with “This is too long”(IIii,478). As the player recites a part of the speech he becomes emotional with color and Polonius points it out. “Look whe’e he has not turned his color and has/ Tears in’s eyes.-Prithee, no more.”(IIii,499-500). Polonius is rude and pokes fun at the emotional speaker. His actions contrast with the player’s tragic speech emphasizing sorrow aspects of his speech. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are comic reliefs by acting as the fool in the play Hamlet. The duo’s ignorant nature are picked at by Hamlet’s sharp toungue through the play, intensifying it’s ultimate tragic nature. One example is in act two scene two of Hamlet, when Hamlet is questioning Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about the reason they are at the castle. Hamlet offsets Humor in these scenes by his choice of words. Hamlet puts the pressure on the duo and Rosencrantz in an aside to Guildenstern asks what excuse they should make to Hamlet while the whole time Hamlet is aware of their conversation. “(to Guildenstern) What

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