Study Guide

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Book 1, Chapter 12

By Laurence Sterne

Book 1, Chapter 12

  • Poor Yorick! He didn't get that laughing at people is bound to make them mad. For every ten jokes,—thou hast got a hundred enemies (7.4). People thought Yorick was laughing at them, not with them, and they eventually took revenge.
  • A group of Yorick's enemies attacked his character, his wit, and his learning. He died, confessing to Eugenius (a friend of Tristram's who shows up periodically) that he was unhappy. He's buried under the epitaph "Alas, poor Yorick!," a quote from Hamlet.
  • This chapter ends with two black pages, which represent Yorick's death.

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