Bitter Imagery in Hamlet Essay

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Bitter Imagery in Hamlet   

In Hamlet, imagery of disease, poison and decay, are used by Shakespeare for a purpose. The descriptions of disease, poison, and decay help us understand the bitter relationships that exist in the play and Hamlet’s own cynicism. We see Hamlet’s pessimism in his soliloquy when he contemplates suicide. The resentful relationship that exists between Claudius and Hamlet is heightened with the use of imagery when Claudius asks about Polonius. Imagery enhances Claudius’ abhorrence of Hamlet. Shakespeare uses imagery in this play to deepen our understanding of the emotions experienced.

    The imagery of decay is used to help comprehend the depression Hamlet feels in his first
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To keep it from divulging let it feed/ Even on the pith of life,"(IV; i, 21-23) This is spoken by Claudius, when he is with the queen, after the death of Polonius. The King says that he is the owner of a foul disease, which is Hamlet. He feels that he must keep Hamlet hidden to avoid embarrassment and others’ scorn. Claudius compares Hamlet to a disease, in such a way that as wretched and disgusting as it may be,it should be kept from the public. We can see that he despises Hamlet greatly and won’t allow him to ruin his life. This shows us how endless Claudius' hatred is towards Hamlet. Claudius' extreme anger and frustration is displayed when he says, "For like the hectic in my blood he rages, And though must cure me."(IV;iii, 62-63) Claudius describes Hamlet as a vicious disease travelling in his own blood. Hamlet is so deep in the midst of Claudius’ pure distaste for him, that he wants Hamlet dead. When Hamlet is gone, then and only then, Claudius can be cured from the atrocious disease that he suffers terribly from. The images of disease express the genuine feelings felt by Claudius. Imagery highlights the poor, horrid relationship that exists between father and stepson. Shakespeare illuminates Claudius' true sentiment with the imagery of disease.

    Hamlet gravely carries a hatred for his uncle, now step-father, and king of England. Hamlet knows his uncle killed his father and this is the stem of his hatred. Hamlet can
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