Rottenness in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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Denmark is a land wreaked by unnatural turmoil. From the opening scene we can infer that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Throughout the play Shakespeare gives us insight into the inner rottenness of
Denmark. In Claudius we see a deceptive, scheming politician and murderer. From his associate Polonius we see the unholy acts of sanctioned spying. Hamlet undermines the true Christian principles for which a
“divine” King would have stood. Gertrude herself lends to the pervading atmosphere of distrust and uncertainty in Denmark. With only a month having passed between the point of the King’s burial and her remarriage to Claudius, Hamlet explores the callous indifference of a mother towards the feelings of a son, and
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The Ghost’s moral ambiguity is revealed in greater depth during conversation with Hamlet. The Ghost of Old Hamlet seems to embody the dark state of Denmark when, instead of asking for pity, it asks for revenge – a morally dubious proposition, certainly by Christian standards. “Let not the royal bed of Denmark be/ A couch for luxury and damned incest.” The distinct imagery of the Ghost’s speech in Act
I gives us some insight into the depths of corruption in Denmark.
We are told in no uncertain terms of the “adulterate beast” that is
Claudius. And so the rottenness in Denmark is further reinforced by calls for the murder of the King.

Claudius is himself an embodiment of much of what is wrong in the state of Denmark. In his maiden speech to the court he says, “With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage.” Such equivocation and twisting of the natural order is common in Claudius, a character portrayed as being morally bankrupt. Hamlet picks up on this unnatural state of affairs in his first soliloquy, tenaciously stating: “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable/ Seems to me all the uses of this world!” then adding,
“…’tis an unweeded garden/ That grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature.” We see the rottenness in Claudius’ soul at various points in the play, but it is most clearly evident in the commissioning of
Rosencrantz, Guildenstern
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