Essay On Poison In Hamlet

1009 Words5 Pages
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet tells a grim story of loss and tragedy. Unfortunately for those suffering from loss in Shakespeare’s tale, the tragedy is not natural as thought to be. In truth, all of the tragedy fabricated in Hamlet is caused by a single act of betrayal; the poisoning of Hamlet’s father, the King of Denmark. Claudius, the brother of King Hamlet, acts as the administrator of the poison that physically kills King Hamlet, as well as the poison that seeps into the lives of the people of Denmark. Derivative from this situation, poison, or sickness in general, becomes a very important theme. Not only is poison used physically as a weapon, it is also strongly metaphorical. Shakespeare drives the themes of poison and disease using extremely…show more content…
Denmark is thought to have been “healthy” when King Hamlet led the state. The act of poisoning King Hamlet is the introduction of a metaphorical disease to the health of the state of Denmark itself. Francisco’s line “’tis bitter cold/ and I am sick at heart” (1.1.9-10) works in concert with Marcellus’s “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (1.4.90) to show the effect of the newly diseased state on its people. Claudius’s traitorous act has a seemingly supernatural effect on the people of Denmark as they have an instinctual sense of something being amiss. In addition to this supernatural effect, the appearance of the ghost of King Hamlet is also very supernatural and presents an omen of disease and bad health. The idea that Claudius so easily murdered King Hamlet and plagued the entirety of the state of Denmark is disturbing and allows him to be seen by the audience as an evil villain. His greed and selfishness takes the lives of all those he loves including, his own. Ironically, Claudius is slain by his own method of murder; poison. Laertes, who agreed to join Claudius in the murder of Hamlet, admits to his own ironic death stating “I am justly kill’d with my own treachery” (5.2.318). It was through poison that King Hamlet was murdered and Denmark was plagued with an evil leader, and it was through poison that the evil leader was defeated and Denmark was cured with a noble leader. Poison strangely becomes the antidote to its own sickly
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