Hamlet And Disease Essay

1054 words - 4 pages

Hamlet and Disease



Throughout the play Hamlet, Shakespeare displays many underlying themes by way of imagery.  Throughout the story, disease plagues Denmark and the people in it, shown by imagery that Shakespear delivers consistently throughout.


In the opening scene, Horatio makes an interesting statement: "As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, Disasters in the sun; and the moist star upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse (1.1.117-120)." He compared the ghost as a possible sign of disaster or catastrophe in Denmark, as to what happened before the death of Julius Caesar.  From the start of the play, Denmark was already tainted and wrought with disease that would eventually continue over the course of the play.


In Hamlet's first soliloquy, he states that the world is "an unweeded garden,

That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature possess it merely (1.2.135-137)."  Like a spreading weed in a garden, the world is being spread with disease, all starting with the incestuous marriage of Gertrude and Claudius.


At the end of act one scene four, as the ghost and Hamlet exit, officer Marcellus states that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark (1.4.90)."  They are starting to realize that things aren't right with the world they live in, and that more is on the way.


The final scene of act one has the ghost telling Hamlet how he died, and how it was from poison poured into his ear which spread throughout his body causing a scab to form over his body.  He also gives Hamlet the idea for revenge against Claudius.  Again, disease relates to this particular scene, as well as the whole first act in general.  The final line of scene four summed up the chapter when Marcellus claimed something was in the air in Denmark.  It provided a base foundation of disease, which affected everyone active person in that first act.


In the second act, Hamlet begins to go mad.  "For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god kissing carrion, - Have you a daughter (2.2.180-182)?"  In one of Hamlet's speeches with Polonius, he uses that line.  The speech in general is about how spoiled life is, as well as fully convincing Polonius of his insanity.


The third act is a very interesting one, with many events materializing during the scenes.  A play called The Mousetrap was performed in front of the king and queen which reenacted the killing of king Hamlet.  Hamlet used the play as a way of spreading his anger to Gertrude and Claudius because of their incestuous marriage, which he compared to a disease.  Also during the play, the villain, Lucianus, uses the phrase "with Hecate's ban thrice blated, thrice infected (3.2.238)," which was describing the poisonous mixture in his hands.  It...

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