Please help with homework Hamlet ActV, 5.1: The two gravediggers are often named “Clown 1” and Clown 2”

  1. The two gravediggers are often named “Clown 1” and Clown 2” in some manuscripts of the play. A Clown meant “simpleton” in Shakespeare’s time, but it also carries its more contemporary meaning of “joker,” “jester, or “buffoon.” What kind of jokes does the Gravedigger make? How does he “divide” the idea of an “act” into three parts (V.i.10-13)? How is this ironic?
  2. How would you describe the rhythm of the conversation between the two gravediggers? What is the conclusion of their exchange (V.i.30-60)?
  3. How does Hamlet think differently about death in this scene than he had before? How are his thoughts similar to what he’s said in the past? Use specific quotes.
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