Infinite jest: a quality that Shakespeare reserved for the dead. Contrary to popular belief, the scene in which Hamlet contemplates the skull is not the one in which he ponders aloud over the relative merits of being and not being. Rather, he says this:

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning?

Hamlet musing over infinite jest **

Infinite Jest is also the title of a satirical novel by the US author David Foster Wallace who, incidentally, wrote another (somewhat confused) book on infinity (David Foster Wallace, Everything and More).

* William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V, Scene I

** Painting by Eugene Delacroix, 1839

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