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The Poison Metaphor In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

1077 words - 4 pages

In Hamlet, a play written by William Shakespeare, poison is often used as a metaphor. Poison is seen throughout the play in many different ways. Characters throughout may not even be physically affected by poison, but in some way or another it's almost as they have been poisoned in the mind. The best way to describe it is, it's like a chain reaction all the way through the play. Beginning with Claudius, who not only murders Hamlet's father but at the same time he basically murders Hamlet as just more in a mental state. Then from there it's like the poison seeps through and moves on to affect Polonius and Gertrude. Polonius again is just another victim of the poison in the mind, but Gertrude is affected physically when she drank the poison all because she thought she should, since she is royalty. Finally, Ophelia is the final poisoned victim. This one poison really seems to do a lot of damage all the way through the play, and it shows because once the King was murdered, everyone begins to die from there. The poison, metaphoric or not, both ways it is a brutal killer in the play.

Firstly, the new King of Denmark, Claudius displays the sympathy for the dead King of Denmark, his brother’s death.
Thought yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom (1.2.1-3)

When Claudius spoke this astounding speech, as the new king, he made it quite clear that he was sympathetic for this horrific tragedy. He seems to use this speech to address his marriage with Queen Gertrude. “With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,” (1.2.12) One second he is talking about the Queen’s former husband, his own brother, and not even two seconds after the fact, he’s talking about his marriage to Queen Gertrude. Since Hamlet’s father’s ghost informs him after this speech the truth of what had happened, the only hatred Hamlet has is how, is mother, married so quickly, and to think, his uncle for heaven sakes. After Hamlet’s father’s ghost lets him know who really killed him, the whole play, now be comes poisoned. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”(1.4.100) Claudius is the “rotten” in the quote, and foreshadowing that something is going to happen, but no one can see past to see that because he is the King. Also King Hamlet was his brother, so why would Claudius kill the King.

Secondly, Hamlet’s mind gets so poisoned, he wants exact revenge for Claudius. Not like any other normal human being would, he waits for the perfect timing, doesn’t tell anyone about what is going on. He hinted at the murder when altering the play, “Murder in Gonzago” into “The Mousetrap”. After the altering of the play, Claudius wants Hamlet out of the state of Denmark. While Hamlet is trying to retaliate, he kills Polonius thinking he was his uncle-dad. So when Laertes, Polonius’ son wants revenge, of course, Claudius wants to help get rid of the poisoned mined Hamlet. So both of...

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