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Home » , » Consider the dramatic propriety of the grave diggers scene in Hamlet.
In the tragedy, Hamlet, the grave diggers' scene is of paramount importance. Though it has comic elements, it is full of serious implications. The scene serves as comic relief before the subsequent tense action. The comic element in it provides the much needed emotional relief after the tragic incident of Ophelia's death which has been described in the proceding scene. The grave diggers' scene is important dramatically also in so far as it marks a clear and notable development in the character of Hamlet. and mainly put on significance of the grave diggers scene in hamlet.

The grave diggers' scene opens the two clowns speaking to each other about the imminent burial of a lady whose death has taken place under doubtful circumstances. The clowns speak about the death of this lady without showing any feeling or emotion whatsoever. In other words, they feel absoluately unconcerned about the death. They are only speculation whether any Christian rites will be performed at the time of the burial of this woman. The grave digger amuses us by using the word, "salvation" when he means 'damnation". Here humour is provided by the grave-diggers' illiteracy and ignorance. The other clown amuses us by addressing the grave-digger as "Goodman Delver".

When Hamlet arrives on the acene, he is shocked to hear the insensitive remarks made by the grave digger while he works.As he watches him, he thinks the bitter irony that ambitious politicians, toading courtiers, vain court ladies, crafty lawyers and landowners still end up as the quintessence of dust. With the arrival of Ophelia's funeral procession, the mood changes from a preoccupation with death to the reality itself. We learn that coroner had ruled Ophelia's death was suicide, but that the king has been able to intercede so she will be buried in sanctified ground.

When Ophelia's dead body is brought to the churchyard for burial, of the priests tells Laertes that as Ophelia's death was perhaps an act of suicide According to the Christianity, if a person commits suicide he is not suitable for good burial. Hamlet is shocked to see the dead body of Ophelia. Laertes curses the man who is responsible for Ophelia's death and unable to restrain his grief, leaps into the grave, saying that he likes to be buried along with his sister. At this Hamlet steps forward and asks who is this man that dares to exaggerate his grief in this manner.

Then Hamlet leaps into the grave and then they grapple with each other but two separated by the King's attendants. They come out of the grave. Hamlet says that he was in love with Ophelia and that forty thousand brothers could not love her as much as he loved her. He throws a challenge at Laertes to complete with him in proving whose love for Ophelia was greater. Here Hamlet expresses his real love for his beloved Ophelia.

To sum up, we can say that the grave diggers' scene marks an important development and regeneration of Hamlet. Though this scene is full of actions, it is essentially a meditation on the inevitability of begins lightly enough, but it grows steadily serious.


Anonymous said...

What does "Goodman delver" mean ? In a Radio 3 version the 1st.gravedigger is. given a name.

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