The Gravedigger


The scene with the Gravediggers (V, i , 166 – 184 ) strikes particularly because it includes both comical and melancholy elements side by side and it is used to strike all the audience. In this scene Hamlet is in a graveyard where two men are digging Ophelia’s grave: they are the Gravediggers. In the text one of them speaks with Hamlet about corpses and he shows him the skull of Yorick, the King’s jester. Hamlet remembers when Yorick was alive and so he understands that all the people, like Yorick, must die and putrefy. This represents the “rotten of Denmark” and of the people’s souls in Elsinore.