Death and decay often convey corruption within a story. The use of this particular imagery allows one to make a connection between the natural world and the nature of people. Throughout Hamlet, a play, set in Denmark, which was written in the early seventeenth century by William Shakespeare, there are several instances where one sees decay depicting corruption. Though this play is filled with massive images of decaying nature, it is also filled with images of nature in its beautiful state. Because Hamlet portrays decaying and developing nature, it shows one that it is possible to maintain a sense of self in a world that strives on corruption.
The first image of decay used in Hamlet was during Act 1, Scene 2. Hamlet states, “tis an unweeded garden, / That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature / Possess it merely” (Shakespeare 1.2.134-136). In context, Hamlet, the protagonist, is upset with the world because of certain life altering events that have happened to him: first, his father is murdered, and his mother then marries her brother in law. Here, Hamlet is essentially saying the world is an unattended garden, where only weeds grow. This image is symbolic in the sense that it is the introduction of corruption in the story. Because of this particular quote, one knows that Hamlet is in a world surrounded by complete and utter corruption and chaos.
Hamlet is full of characters that succumbed to the corruption around them. Hamlet’s uncle/step-father, Claudius, is the most corrupted character in the story. He murdered his brother, married his brother’s widow, and took the throne from its rightful heir. Claudius even admits to his own corruption when he says, “O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven.” (Shakespeare 3.3....
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...passed by overgrown weeds.
"Corruption in Shakespeare's Hamlet." Corruption and Decay in Hamlet. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2014.
"Decay Imagery and Corruption in Hamlet." hamletenglish30. N.p., 5 Jan. 2011. Web. 9 May 2014.
"Hamlet Navigator: Themes: Weeds and Flowers." Hamlet Navigator: Themes: Weeds and Flowers. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2014.
"Resources for teachers." Themes in Hamlet. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2014.
Shakespeare, William. No fear Shakespeare: Hamlet. New York: SparkNotes, 2003. Print.
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