Hamlet Thesis On Decay And Corruption

949 words - 4 pages

William Shakespeare's Hamlet has been considered the greatest tragedy to ever be written. With a focus on the third of five acts in Hamlet, Shakespeare develops the theme of both physical and psychological decay and corruption through the actions, dialogues, and figurative language of the characters. The evidence of this theme can be seen though the breakdown of the royal family, and the monarchy, by the events surrounding Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy, The Mousetrap, and the moral decay of the characters through the use of spying and poison.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.The Mousetrap is a perfect example of the corruption within the royal family. Not only did Hamlet produce the play to make a mockery of Claudius' intelligence, but he also created a "trap" for the king to fall into. Hamlet says to Horatio:There is a play tonight before the King./ One scene of it comes near the circumstance/ Which I have told thee of my father's death./ I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,/ Even with the very comment of thy soul/ Observe my uncle."(3.2.80-85)Hamlet has undermined the King by producing the play, and involved Horatio to observe Claudius' reaction to it. The scheme against King Claudius goes directly against the honor code of the middle ages. One could easily be put to death as a result of such disgraces to the King. The play itself contained the murder by way of poisoning, which is one of the most dishonorable ways to die. Since the royal family is seeking revenge on one another it cannot be strong. The Mousetrap represents the corruption of the royal family, and the disintegration of the monarchy.A spiritual form of decay is seen through Claudius' inability to seek forgiveness through prayer. Claudius cries out:"What then? What...

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