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Death, Disease and Decay Imagery in Hamlet

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jess brandiferri

on 7 November 2014

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Transcript of Death, Disease and Decay Imagery in Hamlet

Use of Imagery through Death
Hamlet: No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough and likelihood to lead it; as thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returned into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam: and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop at a beer-barrel (5.1.201-206)
Use of Imagery through Disease
Explanation of Imagery
Why do we use Imagery?
Shakespeare's use of Imagery
Plot Overview
Argument 1: Death
Argument 2: Disease
Argument 3: Decay
Class Interaction
Work Cited
Why do we use Imagery?
There are multiple reasons why we use imagery in our writing. You may be surprised how many times we find ourselves using imagery for example:
William Shakespeare's
Death, Disease and Decay
Imagery In
Death, Disease and Decay Imagery in

What is Imagery?
Imagery means to use descriptive language to represent objects, actions and ideas in a way where it appeals to our physical senses.

Usually it is thought that imagery makes use of particular words that create visual representation of ideas in our minds. Imagery, to be realistic, turns out to be more complex than just a picture.
Plot Overview
Images of madness parallel the sins of drunkenness, war, adultery, and murder, to reinforce the central idea that Denmark is dying.
To Hamlet the very air he breathes is "a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours." (2.2.13)
Hamlet himself is a victim of a deep melancholy that results in fits of mania

By: Jessica Brandiferri
The right image can help create the mood we want.
An image can suggest connections between two things.
An image can make a transition smoother.
We usually use images to show intention
In the play
Shakespeare uses imagery of death, disease and decay as a vital tool to develop the theme of corruption.
Death is present throughout the play, acting as if it were like a shadow to almost all characters.
We are shown the use of imagery of death through the following situations:
The image of death is introduced from the very beginning, in Act one when we are introduced to the Ghost of the old king Hamlet
Hamlet kills Polonius and sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to death
Ophelia commits suicide
Gertrude dies because she drinks from the poisoned cup
Hamlet speaks about his own death
Speaks about the death of Claudius
Hamlet dies at the end of the play
Use of Imagery
through Decay
Class Interaction
Marcellus: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark (1.4.90)
This quote occurs in scene one, act four. Marcellus says this after he has seen Hamlet follow the Ghost into the dark.

This quote shows the imagery Shakespeare used through disease because Shakespeare weaves the theme of disease into every scene to illustrate the corrupt state of Denmark and Hamlet's all-consuming pessimism.
This quote is said by Hamlet in Act five, scene one while Hamlet is at the graveyard.

In this scene it shows how Hamlet views death and that he fears how no matter who you were or what you did that someday you too, will be at one with the earth and dirt only to become decayed, fed upon and then nothing.
Work Cited
Death can be the result of rotting and decay
In the first part of the play the atmosphere of corruption and decay is presented in a more general way
The Queen is also associated with idea of decay
The Ghost compares Gertrude’s sin to preying on garbage
Hamlet compares Gertrude’s second marriage to a ‘nasty sty’ (III, IV, 95)

This occurs in Act three, scene four in the bedroom scene.
He speaks of her sin as a blister on the ‘fair forehead of an innocent love’
He then goes on to explain that heaven’s face, he tells her, is ‘thought-sick’ (III, IV, 51)
The emotions are so strong all suggesting not only decay, but also disease
She has married Claudius, so her sense must be sickly
Hamlet: Takes off the rose from the fair forehead of an innocent love and sets a blister there (3.4.42-44)
William Shakespeare helps show the use of imagery in the play
through death, disease and decay in order to show us the greater theme of corruption.
Shakespeare's use of Imagery
Shakespeare relies on imagery to reflect and reinforce the themes he reveals
exhibits themes of madness and betrayal in which he uses imagery to paint a picture in the readers mind

"The imagery he instinctively uses is thus a revelation, largely unconscious, given at a moment of heightened feeling, of the furniture of his mind, the channels of his thought, the qualities of things, the objects and incidents he observes and remembers, and perhaps most significant of all, those which he does not observe or remember" (Caroline Spurgeon, 4)
"Shakespeare's Imagery and What It Tells Us." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.

"IMAGERY OF DEATH IN HAMLET." Academia.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.

"Themes, Motifs and Symbols." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2014.

"Shakespeare's Use of Imagery in Hamlet." Schoolworkhelper. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.

"Hamlet Navigator: Themes: Disease and Poison." Hamlet Navigator: Themes: Disease and Poison. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.
If Shakespeare did not use imagery through these 3 topics do you think the play would have the same affect on the audience?
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