Corruption in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

Corruption in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

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In general terms, corruption is the act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle. In politics, corruption is the misuse of public power and image.Whether it is realized or not, no country is wholly free of the disease of corruption, and if it is allowed to develop and become significantly strong, it can obstruct the good processes of governing and deteriorate the fabric of society. It can become a barrier to continual development and make it so that essentially no room remains for justice to succeed. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the destructive force of corruption is clearly exemplified through the abundance of imagery concerning decay, death, disease, sickness, and infection as the play progresses. The first and foremost example of this corruptionis the murder of King Hamlet and the resulting incestuous marriage of Gertrude and Claudius, which forms the foundation for corruption becoming a regular happening in the state of Denmark.The disease of corruption in the play stems from Claudius and slowly spreads through Elsinore and eventually results in the collapse of Denmark, which is signified by the takeover of the castle and land by Fortinbras, the nemesis of Hamlet and the Norwegian Crown Prince.Through the characters of Polonius, Claudius, Ophelia, and Hamlet, the evolution and disease-like spreading of this corruption can be observed.
Looking towards the beginning of the play, it is obvious that something is amiss in Denmark (this being the sudden death of King Hamlet and Claudius’ ascension to the throne). Even the sentry guards are affected as they voice their feelings about the situation at hand. Francisco's sorrowful declaration that he is "sick at heart" (1.1.9) acts together with Marcellus's state...


... middle of paper ...


...e for more. Although the presence of this cancer-like corruption may seem inevitable, it can be combated through the use of the virtues of truth, self-control, and, most importantly, love, as demonstrated by the character of Horatio, the only main character survivor at the conclusion of the play.



Works Cited

Altick, Richard D. "Hamlet and the Odor of Mortality." Shakespeare Quarterly Spring 1954:
167-76. JSTOR.Folger Shakespeare Library.Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
Johnson, Vernon E. Corruption in William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2010.
Print.
Moriarity, Rob. "Shakespeare: Hamlet - Corruption Is an Incurable Disease." The London School
of Journalism. London School of Journalism, Oct. 2001. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and
Paul Werstine. New York: Washington Square, 1992. Print.

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