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Hamlet Creative Monologue

Danika Staples '24


Act 5 Scene 1 Line 180

Yorick (or more accurately his ghost):

You ask me to go speak to your lady, 1

And Hamlet I could indeed obey you, 2

But if your message means that much to you,

You could tell her yourself so very soon. 3

Although, if she really is “your lady”, 4

Then I am confused by your harsh tongue. 4

You do speak of her so critically, 4

Yet tell your friend about me so fondly. 4

Does Ophelia deserve your mockery

Because she’s a woman, and I’m a man? 5

Well! Won’t you answer me?! Why don’t you speak?! 6

Can you not see me? Can you not hear 8 me? 7

How come your father says you can hear 8 him, 9

But when I speak, you just look straight through me,

As if I were invisible to you. 10

As if I don’t even exist to you. 10

Is one dead man different from another? 11

Are we not all just a pile of bones, 12

Spread underground like discarded matches? 13

Oh, but I forget, Kings’ bones do not rot, 12

Like I have done for twenty three years 14 now.

Even in death, the world is unjust. 15

Even in death, royalty outlives me. 15

People like you, Hamlet, outlive us all. 16





Annotations:

This monologue fits into the play at Act 5 Scene 1 Line 180, right after Hamlet finishes his “Alas, Poor Yorick” speech. 

It is meant to be Yorick’s ghost’s response to Hamlet, however, Hamlet cannot actually hear him.

As the monologue continues, Yorick realizes that Hamlet cannot see him, and begins to question why. This leads to Yorick’s exploration of ideas of inequality, even beyond death.

(Numbers correspond to superscript numbers within the monologue)

  1. The monologue starts with this line, a direct response to Hamlet’s order in lines 177-179.

  2. This line is meant to be a subtle allusion by Yorick that Ophelia is actually dead, therefore Yorick, as a ghost, could obey and talk to her.

  3. There are two different meanings for this line: 1- Yorick could know that Ophelia’s body is about to arrive at the graveyard and Hamlet can “talk to her” himself. 2- it could be foreshadowing of Hamlet’s impending death in that he can talk to her in the afterlife.

  4. These 4 lines all directly refer to Hamlet’s speech and are Yorick’s comments on Hamlet’s language and tone.

  5. This question of Yorick’s is from a bit of a feminist angle as it calls out Hamlet’s treatment of Ophelia by comparing how he speaks about her as opposed to him. This is also the first thing Yorick has said that expects a response from Hamlet.

  6. The use of exclamation marks in this line are to show Yorick’s anger at Hamlet apparently ignoring him.

  7. This line uses repetition of a question format “Can you not        ?”. This is both a reference to the play’s theme of doubles and repetition, and also a way to emphasize Yorick’s confusion.

  8. “Hear” is repeated in two lines in reference to the play’s motif of hearing/ears. The fact that Hamlet cannot hear Yorick means he is not able to discover the truth about Ophelia.

  9. This line is a reference to King Hamlet’s ghost and how Hamlet was able to speak with him. This imagines that there is a world of ghosts that talk to each other and King Hamlet has spoken about his conversation with Yorick.

  10. Again these two lines show repetition and showcase the play’s theme of doubles. These lines are also ironic because Yorick is a ghost, so really he doesn’t “exist” and he should be “invisible”.

  11. This question starts Yorick’s thought process to answer his own questions. It is the introduction of ideas about justice and equality as Yorick compares himself to the dead king. It is also the first time in this monologue that death is explicitly mentioned.

  12. These two lines continue with themes of death and move to referring to “bones” and “rot” which are motifs in the overall play. These motifs throughout the play often symbolize corruption, which Yorick is also discussing as he realizes how differently royal bodies are handled. They are preserved, unlike commoners, like himself, who are just buried.

  13. This simile compares human bones to “discarded matches”, which reflects Yorick’s opinion on how his body, and the bodies of others in the graveyard, are treated.

  14. 23 years is how long Yorick has been buried for according to the gravedigger.

  15. “Even in death” is another repeated sentence structure and emphasizes the injustice Yorick has noticed.

  16. This final line serves multiple purposes and has a double meaning: 1- this line adds on to Yorick’s conclusion that only royalty can come back as visible ghosts because of the inequality that favors preserving royal bodies. This means Hamlet will “outlive” all commoners as a ghost. 2- it could also be more foreshadowing of Hamlet’s death, because Hamlet is the last character in the play to die, so he literally outlives all the other characters.

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