Bitter Imagery in Hamlet

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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 soliloquy about suicide. "O that this too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew," (I;ii, 129-130) Hamlet is basically communicating that he wishes not to exist in this world anymore. He wants to die and be apart of the ground. An image of Hamlet’s flesh, rotting, combining with the soil is produced. At this moment we can grasp Hamlet’s true emotions. We feel his pain and his yearn for death. Hamlet continues to say "How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable/ Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on’t, ah, fie, ‘tis an unweeded garden/ That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature /Possess it merely."(I;ii, 133-137) Here, Hamlet says his reason for wanting to commit suicide is that he hates the world he lives in. He feels that the world around him is useless and in disarray. We can understand the true motivation for his suicide. Shakespeare lets us peer into Hamlet’s soul by creating these vivid images.

Claudius’ relationship with Hamlet is drea...

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...hance Hamlet's pessimism of life. Imagery is also used significantly in portraying the sour emotions that exist between Hamlet and Claudius. When Claudius questions Hamlet of the whereabouts of Polonius we see the foul relationship with the help of imagery. As Claudius acknowledges Hamlet's behaviour and insanity, he reveals the anger he feels towards Hamlet. In Hamlet's soliloquy, with reference to suicide, imagery shows us his dark feelings. In Hamlet we truly see what a great deal of depth imagery provides us with. Imagery of disease, poison and decay gives us a chance at really understanding the true emotions that the characters experience in their mind and soul. With the imagery created by Shakespeare, we as readers, can actually comprehend the feelings that are experienced by the characters in Hamlet, that are not always obvious but important.
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