William Shakespeare

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Yorick Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The deceased royal jester, whose remains Hamlet cradles and plays with after a pair of gravediggers exhume his skull. Hamlet recalls Yorick, in one of the play’s most famous lines, as “a fellow of infinite jest,” and yet the prince’s macabre handling of the remains of the jester of his youth reflects the play’s darker themes of poison, corruption, and death.

Yorick Quotes in Hamlet

The Hamlet quotes below are all either spoken by Yorick or refer to Yorick. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Action and Inaction Theme Icon
Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio—a fellow of infinite jest… Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar?

Related Characters: Hamlet (speaker), Horatio, Yorick
Related Symbols: Yorick’s Skull
Page Number: 5.1.190-198
Explanation and Analysis:
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Yorick Character Timeline in Hamlet

The timeline below shows where the character Yorick appears in Hamlet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 5, Scene 1
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
...who the skull belonged to, and the gravedigger answers that it was the skull of Yorick, the king’s jester. Hamlet picks up the skull and examines it more closely, then cries... (full context)
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
...asks Horatio if he thinks even Alexander the Great came to look—and smell—like the poor Yorick after being buried, and Horatio says that he probably did. “To what base uses we... (full context)