What man dost thou dig it for?

The success of this joke depends on the assumption of the Default Man. When Hamlet says “man” he means human because the sense, for time immemorial, has been that men are the standard humans and women are the deviation. So everyone always starts with man first – as in, is it a normal person or a woman?

I would actually love to see this scene played with a female gravedigger and a male Hamlet who might, condescendingly, ask his next question, as a concession to the lady gravedigger. Or even better – what if the gravedigger were non-binary and Hamlet’s questions are not just part of a vaudeville routine but also an attempt to engage with the gender of the person before him.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.