Follow TV Tropes


Funny / Hamlet

Go To

Funny moments in Hamlet.

  • It depends on the production, but Polonius's death and Hamlet hiding the body has a piquant element of Black Comedy.
    "Good night, mother."
    Exeunt severally; Hamlet dragging in Polonius
  • Followed by Hamlet saying that if they don't find Polonius's body, by next month, going up the stairs to the lobby they'll "nose him". As the attendants run off to search for the corpse Hamlet shouts "He will stay till ye come."
  • Advertisement:
  • Polonius exclaims "O! I am slain!" when Hamlet stabs him through a curtain. This was in part so audiences knew what was happening, given the restricted theatre techniques of the time. But it also gives an air of comedy that this pompous nobleman feels the need to announce his own death.
  • Polonius going on... and on... and on... and saying "brevity is the soul of wit"... and on...
    • And Gertrude's reply to Polonius. "More matter, with less art."
      Polonius: "That he's mad 'tis true, 'tis true 'tis pity, and 'tis pity 'tis 'tis true. A foolish figure, but farewell it, for I will use no art."
  • In one production, while Polonius paces up and down giving advice to Ophelia, Laertes paces up and down just behind him, imitating his facial expressions and finger held in the air! You can see Ophelia desperately trying not to crack up, and when Polonius turns around, Laertes just looks at him innocently.
  • This exchange:
    Hamlet: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
    Ophelia: No, my lord.
    Hamlet: I mean, my head upon your lap?
    Ophelia: Ay, my lord.
    Hamlet: Do you think I meant country matters?
    • The actor playing Hamlet will often add to the performance by emphasizing the first syllable.
      • "Do you think I mean CUNT... rrrrrrry matters?" - David Tennant as Hamlet.
    • Just as good are the following lines: remember that "nothing" was Elizabethan slang for a vagina.
      Ophelia: I think nothing, my lord.
      Hamlet: That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
      Ophelia: What is, my lord?
      Hamlet: Nothing.
    • These double entendres were definitely intended, and they just keep coming throughout the scene, culminating with Ophelia, in spite of herself, coming to like it, particularly when Hamlet insinuates having sex with her.
      Ophelia: You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
      Hamlet: It would cost you a groaning to take off mine edge.
      Ophelia: Still better and worse.
  • After the play when Polonius appears to tell Hamlet to go speak with Gertrude, Hamlet attempts to take advantage of his long-windedness by pointing out a cloud that looks like a camel. It works, and the two discuss how it does look like a camel… then a weasel… then a whale… and then Hamlet suddenly gets back on track about going to see his mother.
  • Whenever Hamlet is messing with people, especially Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    • When he calls them sponges.
    • Being roundabout and unhelpful as to the location of Polonius' body - "The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body. The king is a thing-" *cut off by Guildenstern*
  • The First Quarto note  has a variation on the graveyard scene. Only a few lines after "Alas, Poor Yorick", Hamlet jumps into Ophelia's grave after Laertes, who attacks him:
    Hamlet: I prithee take thy hand from off my throat,
    For there is something in me dangerous
    Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand!
    I loved Ophelia! as dear
    As twenty brothers could. Show me what thou
    Wilt do for her. Wilt fight? Wilt fast? Wilt pray?
    Wilt drink up vessels? Eat a crocodile?
    • The entire graveyard scene given that it is Hamlet and Laertes having what can only be described as an Emo-off.
  • In the 1996 film, a clever rearrangement of blocking and dialogue see Osric following and judging the fencing performances of Hamlet and Laertes while it's painfully obvious to everyone else that they're no longer fencing but actually trying to kill each other.
  • Depending on how it's played, Polonius' escalating frustration with Hamlet's "antic disposition". ("You seek the Lord Hamlet? Well there he is!")
  • Hamlet spends much of the first half of the play and some of the second half gleefully and hilariously messing with Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Claudius.
  • The RSC's version of Hamlet with David Tennant had the point where Hamlet whistles along to the theatre troupe's triumphant fanfare, including a vibrato high note at the end.
    • Also the face he makes for the final 'than death' when Polonius takes his leave.
  • Fortinbras and his army arriving at the castle after Hamlet, Laertes, Claudius, and Gertrude died. As he sees all the dead bodies on the floor, he says: "Where is this sight?", or in plain English, "WTF happened here?"
  • The main gravedigger is a great source of humor, since he is an absolute Deadpan Snarker.
  • The opening scene where the guards see the ghost. As it starts to fade away, one of them tells another to stop it, who responds, "Shall I strike at it with my partisan?"
  • Hamlet telling someone it is cold, then hot, then cold weather again, and the other politely agreeing despite the contradiction.
  • Hamlet's Gentleman Snarker moment here;
    Polonius: My honoured lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
    Hamlet: You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal
  • Hamlet reflecting on how everyone eventually dies and decays into dirt, eventually coming to the conclusion that Alexander the Great might have become a barrel stopper by now.
    • Also Horatio's reaction to this, initially thinking that Hamlet's gone off on a string of Insane Troll Logic.
  • In that same scene:
    Polonius: What are you reading, my lord?
    Hamlet: Words, words, words.
    Polonius: What is the matternote , my lord?
    Hamlet: What is the matter with what?
    • Some actors have Hamlet give the book a long, careful examination as they say "words, words, words". And then reply with mock alarm when they deliberately misinterpret "what is the matter".
  • Hamlet describing the jawless skull of Yorick as "quite chapfallen".
  • Kenneth Branagh, being, well, Kenneth Branagh is also good for a laugh. His Large Ham nature means that even lines which ought to be somber and morose in other productions are ALL BUT BELLOWED WHILE HE SLAMS A FIST AGAINST THE WALL (while Polonius and Claudius hide just on the other side, making simultaneous Oh, Crap! faces).
    • To say absolutely nothing of Claudius's death scene in this version, in which Hamlet not only stabs him, poisons him, but also smacks him with a chandelier in between it all. It must be seen to be believed.
  • One thing that's often Lost in Translation is that in Early Modern English, "nunnery" was a common byword for a brothel. "Get thee to a nunnery" suddenly becomes very, very different, and also kind of a Tear Jerker.
  • In SKE48's production, when Polonius is reading one of Hamlet's love letters to Ophelia to Claudius and Gertrude, his actress reads it out in a high pitched voice, even stopping in the middle to gag over how bad it is. The letter is also written in Nagoya dialect, and includes a line saying he wants to ride on a bike to the beach with Ophelia. When Polonius asks Claudius if he has ever ridden a bike, the latter can no longer contain her laughter.
    • The players in this version also act like a Japanese comedy theatre troupe. The play scene is also an entire musical, with a rap. Yes, a rap.
  • In one of his ramblings, Polonius loses his train of thought.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: