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Theme of Corruption in Hamlet

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Nick Makhalik

on 15 July 2013

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Transcript of Theme of Corruption in Hamlet

Theme of Corruption in Hamlet
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (1.5.90 Hamlet). Corruption, if left unchecked, will continue to spread, shattering the social order. This is true in William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet. Greed and the thirst for power become the invitation for corruption. Moreover, corruption is further developed through manipulation. As a result,, corruption manifests itself as tragic revenge.

Argument #1
Greed and selfishness are the vanguards of corruption.
Claudius’ thirst for power leads him to murder his brother and takes the throne. The unnatural coronation of Claudius is proved to be an example of corruption when the ghost says, ‘the fat weed That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf.” (1.5.33-34 Ham) where the ghost compares Claudius to a “fat weed” that will ruin the garden of Denmark.

Argument #2
Argument #3
The theme of corruption in Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, is represented by the chain of events what begin with greed, is further grown by manipulation and blind loyalty, and result in horrific revenge. Claudius’ greed sprouts corruption within the state of Denmark. Furthermore, the presence of blind loyalty and the tools of manipulation that is used by corruption, only increases its domain. As a result, corruption evolves into madness and revenge. Corruption in Hamlet spreads as a disease that inevitably ends with countless deaths.
By: Mikalai (Nick) Makhalik
Daniel Statsenko

Corruption in William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, is represented as a chain of events starting with greed, spreading by manipulation through unquestioning loyalty,, and concluding with the mad act of revenge.

As a result, Claudius’ influences target Gertrude’s virtues, and make her oblivious of her sinful marriage with her brother-in-law. Gertrude selfish marriage corrupts her morality and seems to be unaware of how her actions negatively affect Hamlet.

Furthermore, Claudius’s actions forbids peace for the late king, forcing the ghost to remain in purgatory. The ghost is corrupt with the thought of revenge, and selfishly requests Hamlet to act on avenging him. This is proven when the ghost says, “If thou didst ever thy dear father love- ... Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” (1.5.23, 25 Ham). Here, the ghost shows its role in corrupting Hamlet; Hamlet’s life becomes entirely dedicated to avenging his father.

Greed becomes the inception of corruption, and creates the cascading effect of the plot in Hamlet.

Blind loyalty and manipulation are the tools that are used to further corrupt one’s morality.

Ophelia responds to Polonius’ requests without resistance. For example, Ophelia easily gives away Hamlet’s love letters that. This shows her lack of appreciation towards Hamlet’s trust and love be being easily manipulated. In addition, Polonius’ corruption taints Ophelia’s innocence when she agrees to let her father eavesdrop in on her conversation with Hamlet.

Likewise, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern allow themselves to get manipulated by blindly following the crown. This is shown in the quote, “But we both obey, and here give up ourselves, in the full bent, To lay our service freely at your feet To be commanded.” (2.2.29 Ham), and proves that they do not value the friendship between themselves and Hamlet. Once more, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s false loyalty is proven when they knowingly agree to send Hamlet to his death.

Furthermore, Laertes returns furious to hear about his father’s death, and Claudius easily manipulates his emotions. Laertes falls victim to Claudius’ corruption, and his ethics drastically change. This is evident when Laertes states that he will, “cut his throat i’ the church.” (4.7.127 Ham), with Laertes referring to Hamlet. Claudius’ corrupting influence proves haunting as he gets Laertes to betray his morals and agree to murder Hamlet.
Corruption grows through blind obedience and is seen with manipulation.

Revenge assists with the corruption of ones mind and lead to madness.

Corruption takes hold of Hamlet’s life, forcing him to abandon his previous ambitions and embark on a task of revenge. His mind becomes ill with madness, resulting in the further spread of corruption, as is said in the quote, “Corruption is like a weed that grows and spreads, choking out the other plants surrounding it.” (Gospel).

As a result, Hamlet’s necessity for revenge makes him unaware of his actions, without thought Hamlet murders Polonius. These brutal actions are proven when Hamlet states “how now! a rat? Dead for ducat” (3.4.23 Ham); Hamlets revengeful actions corrupt the minds of others, and plunges characters into a state of madness.

Polonius’ murder leads Ophelia into a state of madness. Ophelia expresses her madness through poems about Polonius’ death. An example of such a poem is revealed when Ophelia states “They bore him barefac’d on the bier: Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny: And in his grave rain’d many a tear,---Fare you well, my dove!” (4.5.162-165 Ham), in other words Ophelia explains how her father’s death, along with Hamlet lying about him never loving her, causes her sorrow and madness.

Works Cited
Gospel. Corruption in Hamlet. everything2. 3 April 2002. web.
14 July 2013

Shakespeare. William. Hamlet. The Falcon Shakespeare. Print

The Unemployed Writer. Rotting from Within: The Disease of
Corruption in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. Yahoo. 28 February
2008. web. 14 July 2013
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