The Cynical Humor of Hamlet

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The Cynical Humor of Hamlet

A horrible event, such as a death in the family, can cause a cynical outlook on life. “Hamlets' hubris is shown through his cynical humor towards others” (Adelman 164). Hamlet uses humor to escape his cynical reality in regards to Polonius, Ophelia's father, Ophelia his true love, and Gertrude, his mother the queen. These three people help lead Hamlet to his eventual downfall.

Hamlet's conversation with Polonius is a good example of the Prince's cynical humor. For example, Hamlet asks Polonius if he is an honest man. Polonius is taken off guard:

" Honest my lord? Ay sir. To be honest, as this world, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand." (II; ii; 177-178)

Hamlet's humor suggest that there are no honest men in this world, and his cynicism shows that if there are any, there are only one in ten thousand. The irony is that Polonius agrees, letting us in on how he views honest people. Another example of his cynicism is when hamlet says to Polonius: "Let her not walk i'd' sun. Conception is a blessing, but as your daugh...

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