Contrast in Act V of Hamlet

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In William Shakespeare's 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 …

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…needed after Ophelia's death and the complexities of the plot. The banter of the gravediggers furnishes the audience with a dramatic pause before the final ascent into the play's resolution. The tense grief of the second segment gives the audience an insight into Hamlet's character (through his expression of love for Ophelia), and also provides foreshadowing of the play's final duel. When combined into a single scene, these elements breathe an extraordinary life into Hamlet.