Images of Corruption and Deception in Act 1 of Hamlet
In the play “Hamlet” corruption and deception are shown with the use
of many images. This suggests that corruption and deception are
central to the play. I am going to look at only the first act of the
play to discuss the ways in which the images are used.
Polonius is considered to be one of the main deceptive characters in
“Hamlet”. Shortly after he is introduced, we learn that he plans to
have someone spy on his son Laertes to ensure he does not get into
trouble and so that he knows what he is doing while in France. This
is deceptive to Laertes as it shows that Polonius does not trust
Laertes to stay out of trouble.
The central storyline of the play is based around Claudius, the old
King Hamlet and Hamlet. In the final scene of Act 1, Marcellus
declares 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.' This can be
read in two ways, the literal reading or an impending war and the
suggestion of Claudius’ misdoings and the murder of King Hamlet.
Before the play starts we learn that Claudius is the new King of
Denmark because his brother, the former King was killed in an act of
war. We later find out when the ghost tells Hamlet, that it was in
fact Claudius that killed King Hamlet,
The ghost to Hamlet, describing the true cause of his death:
"Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural."
This proves that there is both deceit and corruption in the first
scene of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as he tells Hamlet of both the murder
and how unnatural his death was.
“Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole
With juice of cursed hebona in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour…”
This tells of how Claudius...