|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Shakespeare Character analysis Hamlet|
In the exploration of the characterization of the socially lowly characters in Hamlet, there are several characters that belong to this group. We have the gravediggers who come into the scene in act five. These grave diggers represent the other aspect of the social life which is the commoners or also known as peasants. In the hamlet, the gravediggers use their intelligence in order to gain favor from their masters and employers. The undertaker's dialogue as they are preparing the burial site for Ophelia. They are engaged in a deep discussion about whether it's just for someone to take his or her own life in reference to Ophelia's death. The reason for their discussion is to know if the deceased really deserved to be buried under Christian traditions like other believers (King 573). They argue the facts of the case from all possible angles be it political till the legal consequences.
They argued that if the deceased leaped into the water, then she committed suicide but if the inverse happened i.e. the water leaped onto her then she did not kill herself. The first undertaker asserts that the rich and powerful in the society have more freedom than the peasants. The reason for this is that Ophelia easily committed suicide. The two undertakers also test each other by use of riddles. They try to outshine each other by stating very hard riddles. The discussion the gravediggers have shown that they are well informed and educated people despite being mere commoners in the community (King 574). The gravediggers bring out the view from the other side of the world of the distinction between the various social classes in existence in the hamlet. The gravedigger has never met with Hamlet due to his social status.
Hamlet is from royalty while the Undertaker is in the bottom class of the society. Due to this fact, hamlet and the gravedigger have a sincere discussion which does stem from a master-servant relationship. The two discuss the mental illness which has attacked hamlet. The gravedigger says that if Hamlet was back in England he will not be considered insane but a sane and fit person just like any other English man (King 576). The scene of the gravediggers is very significant and brings out several things to the fore. The first thing is that some people who are considered to be unworthy in the society, i.e. the poor are better informed than the rich people. This is seen when the gravedigger shows him a skull which is allegedly belonged to Yorick, hamlet's caretaker and hamlet talks if it really is so and is told yes.
These characters are a very important part of the play because they bring out certain issues that affect the society to the audience. The matter about realism has been broadly covered by the play especially in the scene of the gravediggers. Realism is taking facts as the way they are in real life. In the hamlet the suffering one person goes through does not affect the way of life of the other person (Peterson 93). In the world, some people may decide to go to the inn and have a drink or two or other people prepare their loved ones for proper burial. This realistic portrayal is seen in the scene of the gravediggers and the way they live. The demise of a person is a tragic, sad, traumatic and grotesque event. Despite this fact, the undertakers take it like any other event where they celebrate and laugh with each other and toss human skeletons.
Another importance of these characters when they appear in the play is that they bring the comic relief to the hamlet. Before the undertakers come into the picture there has been a series of unfortunate and sad events which take place. For instance, Polonius is killed by Hamlet and as a result of Claudio's schemes on how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will lead Hamlet to his death in England. Soon after, Ophelia goes insane after leaning the death of her father Polonius. Later Hamlet sends word to Horacio and the king of his expected arrival. Then, the scene of the gravediggers comes into action thereby bringing a set of comic relief to the audience which has been captivated by all the preceding events which are sad and tragic (Peterson 94).
The use of comic relief by the author is basically to bring down the feeling of tragedy which has taken over the audience. The impact of this is that the audience remains captivated and intrigued by the play. The argument by the two gravediggers on whether Ophelia's death of suicide was legal or not is the same discussion hamlet has with him. In his to be or not to be a speech in the third act scene one, Hamlet has the very same argument as the undertakers. The difference between the two conversations is that the gravediggers brought out an intellectual part of it which is not seen in hamlet's discussion. The gravediggers infuse dark humor into the topic which brought out different results from the hamlet.
King, John. "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark". Shakespeare Bulletin, vol 28, no. 4, 2010, pp. 573-578. Johns Hopkins University Press, doi:10.1353/shb.2010.0020. Accessed 14 Dec 2018.
Peterson, Kaara L. "Play Review: Hamlet". Cahiers Elisabethains: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, vol 92, no. 1, 2017, pp. 93-96. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/0184767817691394c. Accessed 14 Dec 2018.
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