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Word Count: 682
In William Shakespeares Hamlet contrast plays a major role Characters have foils scenes and ideas contrast each other sometimes within the same soliloquy One such contrast occurs in Act Five Scene One in the graveyard Here the relatively light mood in the first half is offset by the grave and somber mood in the second half The scene opens with two clowns who function as a sort of comic relief This is necessary after the tension of Ophelias breakdown and subsequent death and after the ever-increasing complexities of the plot Previously Polonious provided some humour but since he is dead a new source must be found - the gravediggers Their banter becomes the calm before the storm of the duel and the plays resolution There is also a juxtaposition of the clowns and the graveyard here which further intensifies the effect The clowns chatter about their work in a carefree manner even going so far as to play with a riddle What is he that builds stronger carpenter V141-42 Shakespeare even went so far as to include his puns in this grave scene V1120 Hamlet himself experiences a temporary lightening of mood from listening to the gravediggers conversation Their carefree treatment of death singing while digging graves not to mention tossing skulls in the air is a parallel to Hamlets newfound attitude After having committed himself to his cause in Act IV he is no longer bothered by the paradox of good and evil and seemingly is untroubled by his previous misgivings Hamlets musings on the equality of all men in death serve as a transition into the darker second half of the scene His contemplations on death reflect Act IV Scene 3 when Hamlet gives voice to a humorous notion concerning how a king may progress through the guts of a beggar IV327-28 Hamlet expands on this idea with his thoughts on how even Alexander the Great
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