Disease and Death in Hamlet

analytical Essay
986 words
986 words

Disease and Death in Hamlet

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.

Hamlet himself constantly references disease. After the death of his father and marriage of his mother, his mind becomes dark and he enters a grim state of being. Although cowardly at first, Hamlet becomes bent on avenging his father whose murder was "most foul." In one of Hamlet's first soliloquies, his downward spiral becomes evident as he is already contemplating suicide; "O that this too too sullied flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew (I, II, ...

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...AMS Press, 1994.

Hodkin, Maud. Disease and Death in Hamlet Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1934.

Levin, Richard. 1990. 'The Poetics and Politics of Bardicide.' PMLA 105: 491-504.

Shakespeare, William. The Tradegy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992

Vickers, Brian. Appropriating Shakespeare: Contemporary Critical Quarrels. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1993.

Watson, Robert N. 1990. 'Giving up the Ghost in a World of Decay: Hamlet, Revenge and Denial.' Renaissance Drama 21:199-223.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how shakespeare's references to death and disease are a recurrent theme in all of his works.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare's death imagery helps us feel what hamlet is experiencing because we can actually picture festering carrion as a metaphor for his death.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare's use of decay and disease imagery helps to get the reader to understand the exact feelings, emotions, and atmosphere of the scene.
  • Analyzes how the use of poison imagery wraps up the story, unravels the denouement, and makes the reader satisfied.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare uses disease, poison and death imagery in both poetic and non-poetic manners and emphasizes the atmosphere and emotion of the play.
  • Cites burnett, mark, and hodkin, maud. disease and death in hamlet oxford: oxford university press, 1934.
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