This same skull, sir, was Yorick’s skull, the king’s jester.

This is the only use of the word “jester” in this play – and in the other plays, it is almost always used in a derogatory way about someone being spoken of. I wonder about how jesters were perceived when this play was current. Did Elizabeth have a jester? Or a fool? And if she did – was he called such?
Now, a jester tends to evoke a rather specific image – one in motley with bells on his floppy hat. But what about then? What did Shakespeare’s audience imagine when they learned of Yorick, the king’s jester?


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