Izzy Rael November 16, 2015
Corruption of the Nation, the Community, and the Individual
“Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of,” says Pratibha Patil, India’s 12th president. Corruption within society hinders its ability to properly function and affects mankind. While it is in effect, corruption will continue to tarnish society’s mores. In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the motifs of disease and decay to exhibit that moral corruption destroys society.
When a leader is corrupt, his country is linked to his moral deterioration, thus the state deteriorates as he does. Hamlet, alone, ponders the current condition of Denmark. After his father has died, his uncle, Claudius, …show more content…
In turn, Claudius’ corruption will disperse throughout Denmark and will destroy and pollute the state. Hamlet says that the weeds of this garden are “rank and gross”. These wild and unwanted plants smell foul and are repulsive to think of. King Claudius, symbolized by weeds, is wicked and dishonest to the people of Denmark; his dishonesty will socially mutilate his state. The audience soon recognizes the prominent effect of Claudius’ corruption when mysterious events occur in Denmark. After seeing the ghost of Old Hamlet, Marcellus tells Horatio that there is something amiss in Denmark. He says, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (I.v.100). The word “rotten” is associated with decomposition; thus when Horatio describes this defect as “rotten”, he demonstrates that there is a disease that is deteriorating Denmark from the inside out. This corrupt “something” that Horatio speaks of has transpired out of Claudius’ rise to power. Since Claudius has become king, the natural order of Denmark has disrupted; the dead are among the living– Old Hamlet’s ghost lurks. As long as Claudius is in rule, his immorality will send Denmark to a doomed and destined fate.
Individuals who are surrounded by the moral decay of others becomes less virtuous themselves. Hamlet forces Gertrude to see, “. . .such black and grainéd spots / As will not leave their tinct” (III.iv.90-93) within herself. Gertrude uses the metaphor “black and
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Shakespeare represents the theme of corruption in his plays, such as Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear (Hudson) in various ways. Hamlet illustrates how the Denmark was full of corruption by saying, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (I. iv. 90). He uses the word “rotten” to describe the smell of the decay in Denmark.
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, there is much skepticism as to what exactly is "rotten in Denmark." Claudius, the "incestuous, adulterate beast," essentially adopts this title as he exists as the root of all evil within the play
Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, begins as an admired and noble young man. However, fate and the turn of events lead the tragic hero the depths of his fortunes. The tragedy starts with the death of the heroic King Hamlet. His brother, Claudius is the successor as King of Denmark and married the protagonist’s mother. When a ghost of the late King Hamlet appears, Hamlet’s downfall begins. The ghost explains to Hamlet that Claudius killed his father “upon my secure hour thy uncle stole with juice of cursed hebona in a vial, and in the porches of my ears did pour the leperous distilment, whose effect holds such an enmity with blood of man” (1001). Hamlet then feels like he must get revenge against Claudius and sets out to plot how it will happen. King Claudius senses something suspicious about Hamlet and sends for Hamlet’s two
Fortinbras is threatening Denmark with vicious attack; the throne is stolen from its rightful owner; incest is being committed on the throne, and Denmark is being viewed as an appallingly weak monarchy. As the disturbance of the Great Chain of Being begins, it only shows signs of getting worse. The fact that Old Hamlet and Claudius are royal opposites does not help anything either. Old Hamlet is known as “a ‘majestical’ king and a great soldier”, and Claudius is known as “a smiling, creeping, serpent” (Wilson 58,44), while Old Hamlet’s “wisdom and human understanding” is contrasted with the depravities of Claudius, “murderer and usurper” (States 94,98). These profound divergences between Old Hamlet and Claudius are certainly dooming for Denmark’s Great Chain as they induce calamity.
Hamlet is as much a story of emotional conflict, paranoia, and self-doubt as it is one of revenge and tragedy. The protagonist, Prince Hamlet of Denmark, is instructed by his slain father’s ghost to enact vengeance upon his uncle Claudius, whose treacherous murder of Hamlet’s father gave way to his rise to power. Overcome by anguish and obligation to avenge his father’s death, Hamlet ultimately commits a number of killings throughout the story. However, we are not to view the character Hamlet as a sick individual, but rather one who has been victimized by his own circumstances.
In the play Hamlet, Claudius is known as the villain of the play. He is the lead antagonist who is characterized as a cunning, incestuous, and vile, usurper. Many readers and critics of the play do not dispute this perception, especially after reading how Claudius became the King of Denmark; He steals the throne by poisoning his brother, the previous king, and quickly marrying Queen Gertrude his widowed sister in law (1.5.42, 60-74). The general reading of Claudius’s character paints him to be a corrupt, cowardly politician, in addition to being Hamlet’s (the protagonist) foe. This portrait engages first-time readers to judge Claudius immediately and although this perspective of his personality is proven to be true, it is limited. Claudius
Early on in Hamlet, a guard slightly mentions that there is “something rotten in the state of Denmark” (Shakespeare, I.iv.90). The tranquility of Denmark is suddenly shattered by Claudius’s marriage to
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been widely regarded as one of the greatest tragedies ever written. One prominent theme exemplified in this particular play is the theme of rottenness or decay. Shakespeare uniquely uses disease, rotting, and decay in order to reveal the manifestation and consequence of moral corruption. Physical corruption mirrors the moral corruption within the characters in the play. The moral corruption in Denmark is showcased for the readers throughout the play by images of physical corruption and disease. Shakespeare argues in Hamlet that sin or moral corruption is like a disease that leads one to one’s own “death” or demise. Nobody is immune from it.
Hamlet returns to Denmark to quickly find that a hasty “incestuous” marriage between his widowed mother and his uncle would all too quickly follow his own father’s funeral. Perhaps the most significant sign that all was not right in Denmark was the apparition of the slain former King. Hamlet’s father’s apparition is viewed by Hamlet and his company as an open sign that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (1068). From this first revelation, Hamlet learns by degrees of the evil that attempts to hide itself behind the “legitimate” passing on of the throne. Hamlet gets a first glimpse of the evil in the appearance of the restless soul of his father, later, more so with that ghost’s revelation of the murderous truth to Hamlet, up until Hamlet’s own observation of Cladius’ unique
As the situation began to go downhill, Hamlet’s behavior gets the best of him and he appears to have gone mad. All Hamlet desires is for his mother to truly reflect on herself and the decisions she has made. While Hamlet is discussing matters with his mother, Polonius overhears their conversation and calls for help because he anticipates danger. When Hamlet is made aware that Polonius was eavesdropping, he rapidly confronted him asking “How now, a rat?” and stabs him. Sprung from Hamlet’s act and Polonius’s death is a heap of moral corruption (Moriarity).
The play, Hamlet, is filled with great acts of corruption that result from the many diseased mentalities existing in the Kingdom of Denmark. In the early scenes of the play, after seeing the ghost of King Hamlet, Marcellus reflects on the condition of the country. The guard says, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark," (Act I, iv, Line 100). Marcellus infers to the reader that the appearance or apparition of the ghost of King Hamlet means that there must be extreme corruption mounting in the country. If it were not for the diseased mental state of Claudius, King Hamlet would not have been murdered nor would he come to speak to the guards of the kingdom. After the death of his sister, Laeretes, the son of the king's late advisor, speaks to King Claudius about seeking justice for the deaths of Ophelia and his father, Polonius. After discussion, King Claudius and Laeretes decided to plot the murder of Prince Hamlet together. "And we shall jointly labor with your soul to give it due content," (Act IV, vi, Lines 225-226). King
Where there is order, there is also chaos. “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (I.V.25), in Hamlet, the beginning of the play depicts chaos through Prince Hamlet meeting the ghost who turns out to be his father’s spirit. This sets up the central conflict in the play in which Hamlet deals with his own madness and inner disturbance. The chaos that derives from the play causes political, social, and family bonds to shatter. Denmark just recently lost its king and Norway’s
In Shakespeare's time, Denmark was a horrible, rotting, poisoned land due to its hidden deceit. In "Hamlet," Shakespeare makes many references to this as a means of clarifying relationships in the story. Writers often use imagery to provide detail and development, which help us understand ideas within and the atmosphere of the play. Hamlet, Horatio, and the ghost are the characters who allude to Denmark's state of decay. Shakespeare's frequent references to death and disease are not only evidence of the harsh and dirty living conditions of the time; they are a recurrent theme in all of his works.
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (1.4.90). These words describe the situation of Denmark in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet after the death of its title character, King Hamlet. His son - also named Hamlet - returns home to witness his father’s funeral, but soon descends on a quest for revenge against his father’s murderer. The death of the Danish king and his son’s spirit of vengeance set off a chain of events that ultimately leads to the death of Prince Hamlet, the collapse of the royal family, and the fall of Denmark itself in the hands of Norway. In the beginning, as Prince Hamlet goes to speak to the ghost of his father, one of the royal guards comments that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”
Throughout William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, themes of rottenness and corruption are shown as the state of Denmark deteriorates when King Hamlet is murdered by his brother, Claudius. Hamlet Jr. knows of Claudius’ rotten deed, and spends a majority of the play conspiring to kill Claudius. In one of Hamlet’s many soliloquies, he states, “Tis an unweeded garden / That grows to seed”(i.ii.139). The “unweeded garden” begins with Claudius, and eventually corrupts Denmark as a country. Hamlet attempts to weed the growing garden of corruption to restore Denmark’s glory, but ultimately becomes a weed himself due to the nefarious acts he commits.