act 5 scene 1
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The range of Hamlet’s verbal and philosophical variety becomes clear as he goes from trading macabre jokes with the gravedigger, to his moving rumination on the dead court jester, Yorick, to his declaration of love for Ophelia and his attendant mockery of Laertes’ over-the-top mourning display, to a scathing parody of Osric’s ludicrous courtly mannerisms. As noted before, Hamlet’s mind seems to work as an intense magnifying glass of sorts. He looks at one subject – say, the gravedigger’s macabre humor – and scrutinizes it to exhaustion before turning to another – say, the nature of mortality as occasioned by the discovery of Yorick’s skull – and treating it with a similar thoroughness. The variety of his curiosity is matched by depth of penetration. He is both wide-ranging and profound – truly a Renaissance mind.