Many things cross our minds when we think of Hamlet, the lovely prince of Denmark. He’s dramatic, introspective, and emo (before it was even cool). However, one thing that I usually don’t associate Hamlet with is humor. He’s way too serious for that. He’s the type of person whose jokes make us nervous because we aren’t sure when things will take a turn for the uncomfortable.
Strangely enough however, when watching Branagh’s 1996 version of Hamlet there was a rare moment were I found Hamlet genuinely funny. This moment is in Act 4 scene 3 line 48 when Hamlet says “But come; for England! Farewell, dear Mother.”
When I read this line in the text, I thought Hamlet was being serious. In my reading, Hamlet was so convinced that Gertrude and Claudius’ betrayal’s went hand in hand he decided that they were one and the same. In the film however, this interaction was much more entertaining. It became obvious to me that Hamlet was just trying to get on Claudius’ nerves, by addressing him as a female, and this amused me.
Although Hamlet is still fairy young, so much of what he does and says is alienating. (I mean who tells their girlfriend to become a nun?) This simple act of sass, and the cheeky cheek-kiss that followed Hamlet’s farewell to his “mother” made me realize that despite everything Hamlet is still a kid who derives pleasure from ticking his parent off. And sometimes don’t we all?