A Duplicitous Slaughter
"The world is governed more by appearances than realities, so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it." - Daniel Webster. William Shakespeare's Hamlet best illustrates Webster's famous quote through its continuous ideology of appearance versus reality where we observe many characters exhibiting baffling and duplicitous personalities. Hamlet and Claudius are just two core characters who constantly switch between reality and their `masks of dishonesty'. A rank and gross...unweeded garden is the only suitable way for the young Prince to explain his situation at the start of the play. His poor father's body now forgotten and his mother married to a satyr, Hamlet's emotions of grief, thy knighted colour and anger, impious stubbornness are thus contrasted. This is due to his mixed reactions to his mother's re-marriage after his father has been not so much...two months dead.
This scene begins with an exceptionally tense atmosphere between members of the royal family where Hamlet first shows his disapproval and disgust in his mother when he unwillingly says I will obey you, madam. Consequently we witness all of Hamlet's built up anger, grief and utter disgust unleashed for the first time in his first soliloquy in the play:
O, that this too too sullied flesh would meltThaw and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon `gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on it, ah fie. `Tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead - nay, not so much, not two -
So excellent a king, that was, to his
Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face to roughly. Heaven and earth,
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on. And yet, within a month -
Let me not think on it - Frailty, thy name is woman -
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears - why she, even she -
O, God, a beast, that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourned longer - married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules.
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
Hamlet is so overwhelmed by the unweeded garden around him that from the use of Shakespeare's gloomy and rank imagery he begins his solioquy thinking and considering what to him appears to be the one way that may fix all his problems; suicide. Hamlet sees himself as insubstantial and desires his too too sullied flesh to melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew. By the use of the metaphor `melt' Hamlet is imagining that if he died he could escape and become clean and...