The Comedy of Hamlet

1827 Words May 28th, 2012 8 Pages
The Comedy of Hamlet
Shakespearean plays are often known for their outstanding entertainment and classic comic conflict. In his masterwork, Hamlet, Shakespeare uses these aspects to serve his thematic purpose. He has used comedy throughout many of his historic plays, but in this play, comedy is the drawing point that makes it fun and entertaining, yet clear and intuitive. Generally, his tragedies are not seen as comical, but in reality, they are full of humor. However, these comic elements don’t simply serve to relieve tension; they have much significance to the play itself. The characters of Hamlet, Polonius, Osric, and the Gravediggers, prove to be very influential characters, and throughout the play, they are the individuals that
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Osric’s role during the play was to enlighten the intensity in the room and use humor to create a positive atmosphere. As courtier to the king, Osric was not necessarily one of the most influential characters, but he did play an important role as a servant and “braggart soldier” (Draudt, 2002). His character allowed a more powerful character (Hamlet), to “not only make fun of [his] diction, but also deliberately baffle and confuse [him] and thus expose [his] slow wits” (Draudt, 2002). Throughout Act V, Osric isn’t usually the one to offer the humor, but the humor is revolved around him. This type of comedy reflects the meaning of his social class, and as Hamlet ridicules him, it only weakens his reputation. Nonetheless, Hamlet uses this humor to poke fun at Osric and is therefore viewed as comedy. The importance of this action is to show the ignorance of Osric’s character and how easily he can be manipulated by his fellow men and because it highlights his function in society and his class rank.
In addition to being mocked, Osric also “serves as [a] foil to the hero (Hamlet), contrasting with [his] genuine wit… [and] honesty” (Draudt, 2002). As a foil, Osric is the complete opposite of Hamlet, and that can be seen by the way Hamlet treats Osric. This reveals to the audience the differences

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