Original poem reprinted online here: "A Silly Poem" by Spike Milligan
Originally read: May 31, 2013
More information about the Poet: Spike Milligan
Humorous poem. I'm not so sure how to go about this to analyze. I guess I'll start with the title. The title announces that the poem is a straight forward silly poem -- so the mindset of the reader automatically looks for the following: the type of humor which is how subject and tone fails expectation.
But the switch happens automatically as the point of view is revealed to be Hamlet talking to Ophelia -- yes, that Hamlet, and that Ophelia.
The characters act out of character to the play when Hamlet asks Ophelia on "What kind of pencil shall I use?" to draw a sketch, "2B or not 2B?" The reference being to Hamlet's famous soliloquy.
How much of Hamlet does a reader have to know about Hamlet to understand this? Not much. How much does a reader have to know about pencils in order to find this humorous -- a lot more than knowing Hamlet.