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Corruption in Hamlet

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Carly Jackson

on 20 January 2015

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Transcript of Corruption in Hamlet

Marcellus and Horatio think something is wrong and Hamlet is up to something
This is foreshadowing to all the corruption and problems that will go on
Hamlet connects his desires to corruption, which makes it look like enjoyment hides internal corruption
Corruption in Hamlet
Theme Corruption
Moral Corruption- Someone that is morally corrupt behaves in ways that are morally wrong

Sexual Corruption- Someone that behaves morally wrong when it comes to sexual intercourse. The physical portrayal of moral corruption

Political Corruption- Use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain
Effects of Corruption
Tears people apart
Claudius and Hamlet- Claudius is morally corrupt and it effects Hamlet's family because he killed Hamlet's father and married his mother
Gertrude and Hamlet- Hamlet feels betrayed by his mother because she moved onto Claudius so quickly
Ophelia and Hamlet- Gertrude's betrayal made him believe all women are weak and disloyal tearing him away from Ophelia
Symbols and Motifs

Motif: Secrets and lies

"A bloody deed? Almost as bad, good mother,/As kill a king and marry with his brother." (III.IV.29-30)
Hamlet says this to his mother who he is disgusted by because of how morally corrupt she has become
She has married her husbands brother and Hamlet is comparing that to him killing Polonius
She does not care to recognize what she has done to Hamlet but is unwilling to apologize or fix what she has done showing how corrupt she is
"My father’s spirit in arms! All is not well;/
I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come!/ Till then sit still, my soul. Foul
deeds will rise,/ Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men’s eyes." (I.II.253-256)

Carly Jackson, Paige Seymour, Wyatt Stamper, Chris Saltat & Karl Aziz
Moral Corruption:
Stealing from a homeless person
Claudius kills his brother and marries his sister-in-law to become king
Sexual Corruption:
Human trafficking
Gertrude marries and has sexual intercourse with the Claudius shortly after her husband dies
Her sexual drive is a physical representation of her corrupt soul
Political Corruption:
Senates taking money from tax-payers to use for personal activity
The line of succession is out of order when Claudius becomes king through murder
Effects of Corruption
Makes guilty souls
Claudius tries to pray for forgiveness
Gertrude realizes what she has done is wrong
Laertes apologizes for poisoning Hamlet
Hamlet feels guilty for not being able to revenge his father's death
*Ophelia was victimized by the corruption of three other people
Hamlet was betrayed by the two closest women to him
He becomes cynical of all women and sees a connection between female sexuality and moral corruption
His hatred for women stems from his mother's betrayal
It also stems from his inability to carry out his father's revenge which makes him weak like a woman
"Frailty, thy name is woman!"
He says this to his mother assuming that all women cheat and are weak
"To a nunnery, go"
He says this to Ophelia meaning it as a brothel instead of a convent
Moral Succession
Political corruption appeared because of the moral order being incorrect
Claudius should not have been king so the whole of Denmark is affected
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"
Everyone had to die in order for the succession to right itself
Fortinbras is a rightful king so the order was restored
Corruption in Hamlet
Almost everyone in the play is morally corrupt
Horatio's character is there to point out the corruption
Gertrude is sexually corrupt and Hamlet believes that Ophelia is as well
The line of succession is out of order so the kingdom is awry
The moral order affects the whole state
Treachery & Poison
Treachery and poison was used twice in this play
Once when the King Hamlet was poisoned so the throne was stolen
Later when the sword was poisoned at the end
The first poisoning was what lead to the revenge King Hamlet wanted
Ambition and lust for power
Mainly based around Claudius as other characters are honest/good people
His lust for power was the root cause of everything that happened
This lust for power was the thing that lead to the many deaths that occurred throughout the play
Death was overshadowing over the whole play from the moment King Hamlet was murdered
It was also said to be the ultimate leveling ground, king or peasant is just a corpse in the end
Disease, rotting, decay, Yorick's skull and Gravediggers
Hamlet speaks of Yorick while talking about death and decay
Grave diggers add humor to the heavy mood that has been going on
Grave digger also mentions he has been working since Hamlet was born and has been working for 30 years
Depression and Suicide
Ophelia ended up killing herself due to a controversial topic
Her love for Hamlet when he seemingly became mad and corrupt
The society around her as well as her father
Hamlet becomes and smells the corruption in the air. The ghost of his father tries to corrupt him by asking him to kill Claudius so his death will be avenged
His father's ghost riles him up against Claudius and uses his powers over his son to physically and morally corrupt him to kill someone in his family that is very close to him
Hamlet describes how cruel and corrupt life itself is and to survive you have to have that in you
His side that he knows can do bad things comes out at this part and becomes who his father wanted him to be, which was an easily corrupted son
He then indirectly threatens Claudius and shows his morally corrupt side
"Claudius: What dost you mean by this?
Hamlet: Nothing but to show you how a king may go a/ progress through the guts of a beggar." (IV.III.30-32)
Act 4, Scene 7
This scene represents moral corruption as they are talking about murdering the rightful king
Claudius influences Laertes and corrupts him to get what he wants
They plot to use poison to kill him
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (I.IV.90)
- Secrets and lies is a reoccurring motif in the play of hamlet. This reoccurring motif is evident, specifically amongst characters Hamlet, Claudius, and Polonius. These secrets and lies are structured throughout Hamlet.
"The instances that second marriage move/ Are base respects of thrift, but none of love./A second time I kill my husband dead/When second husband kisses me in bed." (III.II.178-181)
This quote shows how sexually corrupt Gertrude really is even though she is in the play
She is saying that nobody ever marries again for love and every time she kisses her new husband she forgets all about her old one which is just morally wrong when it comes to relationships and it does not help that she is incestuous
- In act (I. 4,5), Hamlet he is sworn to secrecy to not tell anyone about the death of his father, after conversing with his father's ghost. This sparks the beginning of hamlets eradicate behaviors throughout the rest of the play.
- Throughout acts (3) Hamlet's mind is morally corrupted with revenge against Claudius. First he plots the "play of the mousetrap" (III,2) to test Claudius' guilt, which was successful for hamlet. Evidently, Hamlet's lie to the king of the actual play satisfies his evil conscience.
- Shown throughout, hamlet's secrets and lies corrupted him with evil morals. For every secret and lie he made it had lead him to make poor decisions and exhibit bad behaviors, without even thinking about the future consequences.
- For Claudius, he too holds many secrets and lies throughout hamlet. The recurrence of Claudius' secrets and lies, disrupted the moral order and had affected his surroundings. Claudius' secrets of killing the king, his attempts of killing Hamlet, and also lies to hamlet, contributed evil morals within himself and other characters. These lies just further deepen his moral conscience.
- (Act III, 3) Claudius confesses to god about killing the old king.
- (Act IV, 6,7) Claudius is immediately sent to England, with a letter of Hamlet's execution once he arrives, secretly made by Claudius.
- (Act IV, 7) Claudius lies to Laertes and makes him plot against hamlet and to kill him.
- For Polonius, he is morally sane, but the manipulations made from him and the many secrets with Claudius made him venerable and they were corrupted. It was Polonius's desire to satisfy only himself and his persistence, which not only created more secrets and lies, but eventually lead him to face consequences. It is the willful blindness from his moral corruptions which caused him to oversee the dangers, without any precautions. Consequently he dies. Examples are shown in:
- (Act I, 3) Polonius secretly tells Ophelia to avoid Hamlet.
- (Act III,1) Claudius and Polonius secretly spy on Hamlet.
- (Act III, 4) Hamlet kills Polonius, when he secretly spies on him.
Symbol: Blood
- Symbolically the blood in Hamlet, represented specifically towards characters Hamlet and Claudius.
Motif: Tyranny
- As Hamlet, realized that Claudius killed his father, his desire for blood against Claudius grew more imminent and that bad blood between Claudius was a key factor in corrupting Hamlet's morals. That bad blood changed his behavior, conscience and relationships with others in the process.
- Within Claudius's circumstances, he was obsessed with power. In knowing that he had to kill the king for power, he did not realize the vengeance against him after that decision. The blood that he later created through the course of Hamlet had only fueled his corrupted morals, which lead him to his death for both Hamlet and Claudius, blood was symbolically dangerous and contagious.
Motif: Violence
- Violence is a reoccurring motif which primarily driven by Hamlet. Hamlet's desire for revenge builds his corrupted mind. Hamlet's actions represent his violence. The reason for Hamlet's violence is caused by his desire for revenge, which contributes to his moral corruptions. Hamlet's violence sparked altercations, destroyed relationships, and mentally and physically corrupted his surroundings. His acts of violence affected other characters and contributed to the downfalls. Also Hamlet's evil conscience through the play made him adaptive to the violence. Examples are shown in:
- (Act II, 1) Polonius gives directions to Reynaldo to spy on Laertes
- (Acts III, 4) Hamlet's behavior is violent towards his mother. Hamlet corrupts her mind with harsh verbal words.
- (Act V, 1) Hamlet fights with Laertes in Ophelias funeral burial. (Shows the corruption of hamlet not showing respect for Ophelia, proactive on the wrongs instead of understanding the reality).
- (Act V, 2) Hamlet kills Laertes during the duel fight and kills Claudius.
- Tyranny is also a motif in Hamlet. The unrestrained powers, some of the characters had in Hamlet, were either used manipulatively, for authority, satisfaction or protection. This structure of tyranny also disrupted the moral order, which also enhanced the contributions to moral corruption. Like a domino effect, as these characters abuse their powers on others, it causes them to shift their minds and establish different morals. Examples are shown in:

- (Act I, 3) Polonius tells Ophelia to avoid Hamlet, even though she begged in defense.
- (Act III, 1) Claudius secretly plans to send Hamlet to England to be killed, knowing that he can cause potential harm to him.
- (Act III, 1) Hamlet reveals his excessive harshness to Ophelia. Hamlet's power later on, affects Ophelia and was a contributor to her death.
Motif: Incest and incestuous desire
- Incest and incestuous desire is unique within Hamlet and can be seen and interpreted in many ways.
- The intimate relationship between Claudius and Gertrude is evident. With Claudius being the brother of the dead and late Hamlet, he had not only captured the opportunity of a new throne but to also have Gertrude. This also made Claudius the step-father to Hamlet in the process.
- The relationship between Claudius and can be viewed in a corruptible perspective. Morally Claudius knows that he is not just wrongly about the killing of old Hamlet but is also corrupted with the sexual notion between Gertrude.
- (Act III, 4) Hamlet notes out the possible sexual activities Gertrude has encountered with Claudius.
- Gertrude is also corrupted both morally and sexually. She ideally knows that incest is wrongful. It is also important to note that during the time Shakespeare wrote hamlet between 1599 and 1601, that incest was one of the highest sins in Christian faith. This also came with consequences, but forgiveness would level upon those sins. Gertrude seems deceptive and forgets the death of Old Hamlet and is seemingly satisfied with Claudius. Gertrude also does not repent these sins and in addition to her moral blindness she suffers the consequences of death.
- Incest between Hamlet and Gertrude can also be seen within this perspective. Hamlet fixated interest in Gertrude's relationship, had corrupted his mind with sexual fantasies. The thought of Incest had also destroyed the relationship between each other.
- He shows a longing for his mother.
- Lastly an incestuous desire can also be seen between Ophelia and Laertes. The interpretation can be seen differently also but is not as significant as Hamlet's incest desires. Examples shown in:
- (Act V, 1) Laertes exhibits a greater passion for Ophelia's death by leaping into her arms.
- (Act I, 3) Laertes disapproves the romance between Ophelia and Hamlet and warns her about him.
He may have done this for his own sexual desires
In this scene Laertes oddly actions adds more speculative of Laertes sexual conscience between Ophelia.
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