Hamlet The Lust For Power Corrupts

1518 words - 6 pages

"Corruption is a tree, whose branches are Of an immeasurable length: they spread Ev'rywhere, and the dew that drops from thence Hath infected some chairs and stools of authority" (Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher). Corruption in Shakespeare's play Hamlet has infected Claudius, the brother of the old king Hamlet who kills him out of lust for power. In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, corruption had inevitably led to the downfall of Denmark. Hamlet describes the present state of Denmark as an "unweeded garden" (Act 1 Sc 2, line 135-137) where only nasty weeds grow in it. Hamlet cannot believe that Denmark has now deteriorated and have become such a scandalous place where the new king is like a drunkard and is involved in an incestuous relationship. These nasty weeds have taken over Denmark and have soiled the name of the country.
Hamlet in Act 1 Scene 2 claims that Denmark is now filled with acts that are "most rank and gross in nature." He is essentially making a comment criticizing Denmark of “going to the dogs” after the death of old king Hamlet. He observes a great deal of foul play that is occurring in Denmark after his father’s death. The hasty marriage between his mother Gertrude and her husband’s brother Claudius only within two months of old Hamlet’s death bothers the prince deeply. He claims that nothing good will ever come of the incestuous relationship between his mother and uncle. Hamlet in a sense despises her actions because she was so quick to jump into bed with his uncle even before her tears have dried up in her eyes.
“Would have mourned longer!—married with my uncle, my father's brother... Within a month, ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married. O most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not nor it cannot come to good,” [Act 1 Scene 2, lines 151-158].
The ghost of Hamlet’s father is also very uneasy in regards to the marriage of his wife to his wicked brother. He sees her as a victim in the relationship (“virtuous queen”) as his brother had seduced her and her not knowing what he had done to him. Gertrude of course is, as the ghost describes her, a good honest woman and his brother is a wicked beast. It is a most unnatural act for Gertrude to marry her husband’s brother and incest, in most societies is unacceptable, so it was a big deal for both Hamlet and the ghost that they got married.
“Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, with witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts— O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power so to seduce!—won to his shameful lust the will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.” [Act 1 Scene 5, lines 42-46]
The suspicious death of the old king Hamlet is also a “weed” that has “ruined the garden”. It is most unnatural for the king to be murdered in such a way that is devious and unwarranted. The king is ordained by God and is a natural thing to happen but when the king is murdered for his...

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