Alas, poor Yorick!greenspun.com : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread
Hi Everyone, I have a question to ask you. My school is performing Hamlet (it is an abridged version) and i have a question for all of you. Could you please explain the "Alas, Poor Yorick" lines. This is the exact lines that i have in our play. "Let me see. (he takes the skull) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio -- a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and how now abhorred in my imagination it is. My gorge rises at it."
I know that "abhorred" expresses hate, but i am not sure at what Hamlet hates.
-- Joey (email@example.com), March 23, 2003
Hamlet is remembering Yorick, who was Hamlet's father's court jester when Hamlet was a child. Hamlet is saying that Yorick was endlessly amusing, and imaginatively entertaining. In addition, Yorick used to carry (bear/bore) the boy Hamlet around on his back - piggy-back I presume. Now that Yorick is dead, and turned into a smelly, dirty skeleton, Hamlet is revolted by the thought of Yorick having touched him. That's what Hamlet dilikes - it makes him gag ('My gorge rises at it'). It's a pity your production has cut out the line about Hamlet having kissed Yorick when he was young ('Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft') - Hamlet's expression of revulsion would make more sense and have more punch following that line.
-- catherine england (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 28, 2003.