Make her laugh at that.

Suddenly, the idea of MAKING someone laugh feels quite aggressive – and in this case, cruel. Though, I do believe making someone laugh – or, rather, eliciting a laugh from someone, is one of the most pleasurable acts, on both sides of the equation. And a really good comedian probably could make someone laugh at their own mortality in this way.
But that’s not what Hamlet’s on about here. He’s more concerned with inflicting punishment on Ophelia, with confronting her with something upsetting and disturbing. It has a bit of the quality of The Joker in Batman, whose jokes are not funny – but are, in fact, thrust upon victims. The idea of MAKING someone laugh, at the moment, evokes a sense of tying them up and poking them until they surrender.
I wonder about language differences here. In Italian, fare ridere is also to make laugh. But it might carry more of the sense of crafting than compelling, I think.
I’d love to know how other languages construct making someone laugh.


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.