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Hamlet. Essay

1535 words - 6 pages

The Tragic Corruption of Denmark"To be or not to be, that is the question" (Act 3 Sc.3 Line 64) is one of the most famous lines in Shakespeare's well-known Hamlet. More importantly, it leaves a principal message and theme in each reader and audiences' mind: to live or to die? This is one of the key questions that Hamlet contemplates throughout the play. He is constantly trying to figure out whether there is more significance in dealing with the dreads and destruction of life or putting an end to them by committing suicide. Hamlet eventually learns the hard way that indecision and deep analyzing rather than acting, accomplish nothing more but chaos and destruction. However, Shakespeare's Hamlet does an excellent job of showing the gradual corruption of the kingdom and Hamlet's ability to eventually prove to be the noblest and most honest in the State of Denmark. He is also able to incorporate several different themes to the play, which in return make it extraordinarily complex and entertaining. Throughout Hamlet, Shakespeare portrays descriptive imagery in order to compliment the prominent theme of corruption in the State of Denmark. This is elaborately done through symbols of disease and decay, gardens and flowers, and playacting/deception, which help the reader gain a better sense of the consequences of dishonesty and selfishness in a royal kingdom.The most ornate and detailed description Shakespeare describes, deals with the idea of decay and rotting. Another famous line relating to this theme is stated by Marcellus when he claims, "Something is rotten in the State of Denmark" (Act 1 Sc. 4 Line 100). This sense of imagery helps people listening or reading to understand and relate to how foul and unnecessary the events taking place in the kingdom really are. The term such as "rotten" vastly describes the corrosion of Denmark. Later on in the play, another decay image comes up when the King comprehends, "Diseases desperate grown by desperate appliance are relived or not at all" (Act 4 Sc. 3 Line 9). After Claudius has began to come to the realization that his action of killing his brother has caused a domino effect of corruption in the kingdom, he recognizes that what he has done cannot be fixed. The word disease means corruption and Claudius knows that there is a possibility that the death of Hamlet Sr. has caused life-lasting consequences. One last model of how Shakespeare makes a lasting impression on his audience with the disease image is when the Gertrude tells others, "Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay to muddy death" (Act 4 Sc. 7 Line 207). When describing Ophelia's death, there's a good use of imagery of decay and disease when Gertrude talks about how she laid there harmoniously and then compared it to a gruesome, muddy death. Again, Shakespeare is portraying to his readers that something innocent and pure like Ophelia can be brutally damaged and destroyed by one disparaging event of a murdered king. Throughout the play, the...

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