Shakespeare uses a dramatic change of imagery in the town of Denmark itself, to show the readers the corruption that began at the beginning of the play and lasted throughout it as well. The first example of this is when Guardsman Marcellus states in the beginning of the play, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (1. 4. 90). This imagery helps the readers visualize how awful the town must be turning. By picturing something rotting, it appeals to many of the readers senses: sight, smell, and taste. Seeing, smelling and tasting something rotten is disgusting and that is exactly what Shakespeare wanted to the readers to think about Denmark. Since nobody can make something not rotten, they tend to not even try. He wanted to inform us that the town is going downhill and foreshadow the tragic end of the play. Furthermore, Hamlet discusses the fall of Denmark when he states, “excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o 'er-hanging firmament, / this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why it appeareth nothing/ to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors” (2.2.273-275). Shakespeare uses this imagery to describe how beautiful the world is with a ...
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...ue to become worse than what it already is.
By using imagery, symbolism, and tone, Shakespeare is able to show the corruption of Denmark throughout his play, Hamlet. Starting from the beginning with the very first line to the very ending, all three literary elements can be recognized more than once as a way to inform the readers that Denmark is becoming worse. Imagery helps the readers picture awful things in their heads, symbolism helps the readers better understand a scene in a different way than mentioned, and tone helps the readers understand how the author wants them to approach a problem in the play. Although all three of these literary compounds differ, they all aid in informing the readers that Denmark is collapsing, not physically, but mentally. Shakespeare successfully showed the readers Denmark’s downfall in Hamlet, through imagery, symbolism, and tone.
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