Introduction: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been considered the greatest tragedy to ever be written. Shakespeare develops the theme of both physical and psychological decay and corruption through the actions, dialogues, and figurative language of the characters. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. ” –Marcellus (Act 1, Scene 4) The following quote was taken from Act 1, Scene 4 and was said by Marcellus. Interestingly, it foreshadows one of the main themes in the play Hamlet- That is corruption and decay, an element Shakespeare always uses in his plays, such as Othello and Macbeth.
As Hamlet returns home he discovers his father’s death, his mother married to her brother-in-law and the return of his father through a ghost. All of these dreadful events happening at once can show us that everything is not as it seems in Denmark. There is a connection between the state of the kingdom and the reoccurring events that take place throughout the play. Because the King was believed to be appointed by God, the Divine Right of Kings, Claudius killing Hamlet Senior was not only a crime against King Hamlet, but by association, God as well.
This is a reason for which all the horrible events have occurred throughout the play, because Claudius is being punished, and since he is King, leader of the state, his punishment reflects on the state of the kingdom of Denmark. Marriage between Gertrude and Claudius One idea of the rottenness is the marriage between Hamlet’s uncle Claudius and his mother Gertrude. Many consider the marriage almost incestuous, and Claudius feels he must justify it by stating that he had the approval of the courtiers and that the marriage was in the best interest of Denmark.
The marriage is also suspiciously corrupt because it took place only two months after the death of King Hamlet. Those circumstances cause Hamlet to become extremely upset at his mother for her apparent lack of mourning and helps support the idea of foul play in King Hamlet’s death. King Hamlet’s Death Another example of the rottenness in Denmark is King Hamlet’s death. Unknown to the people of Denmark, it was Claudius who killed King Hamlet, and stole his crown and his wife.
Claudius had won the love of Gertrude and then murdered the King by pouring the poisonous “juice of cursed hebona”(I. v. 63) into his ear. This poison invaded his defenseless body and “swift as quicksilver it courses through / The natural gates and alleys of the body. “(I. v. 67) In a sense the poison used by Claudius spreads throughout the entire country of Denmark. Ghost of King Hamlet Rottenness in Denmark is also seen in the ghost of King Hamlet.
Just the sign of a walking ghost is a bad omen in itself, a sign that something rotten will or has taken place. The ghost has come to inform Hamlet that King Hamlet was murdered by Claudius, who deprived him of a last opportunity to confess his sins. King Hamlet tells the prince because of this he is doomed to spend his days within the purgatorial fires of his prison and roam at nights. The ghost then calls upon Hamlet to avenge the murder. Hamlet swears that he will, which will eventually lead to the total decay of him and his uncle.
Hamlet’s character is the most puzzling of the whole play. His mind erodes further and further as the play unfolds. In act three, Hamlet asks himself whether he should commit suicide or fight the hardships in life: “To be or not to be – that is the question:/ Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles/ And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep–/ No more. ” (3. 1. 64-69) Hamlet has mentally decayed since the murder of his father.
He has been driven to the point of contemplating suicide. According to Hamlet, no good can come from life. The only thing that stops people from killing themselves is the uncertainty of life after death. The format that Shakespeare used when writing Hamlet’s soliloquy portrays an insane man speaking with two voices. One wished to commit suicide and the other does not. The back and fourth talk insinuates madness such as schizophrenia. The decay of Hamlet’s mind had produced the question of suicide that he had asked of himself.
Cite this Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark
Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/something-is-rotten-in-the-state-of-denmark/