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Corruption in Hamlet
Transcript of Corruption in Hamlet
Hamlet knows Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are working for the king.
He is using them for his own benefit
He criticizes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern for being used by the king while he is doing the same thing.
He is lying to everyone about his sanity in order to get information from them. He fools everyone including the audience/reader of the play.
This is what brings out the idea of UNCERTAINTY in the play
Hamlet has this inner corruption which spurs him on in his plan to avenge his father's death.
Claudius will do anything to maintain power, even going to the extent of killing his brother to gain power.
He is a cunning manipulator disguised as a stammering fool.
He only cares about his own good and works for only his benefit.
He tries to brush off fact that the king’s funeral just ended. “With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage/In equal scale weighing delight and dole...” (1, 2, 12-13)
When Gertrude told him Hamlet killed Polonius, he was not worried for his wife’s well-being but is worried that he would have been killed if he was in the room instead.
He manipulates Laertes into trying to help Claudius kill Hamlet.
Influence of Corruption on Hamlet
Hamlet is first corrupted when he meets his father's ghost.
Motivated by his encounter with his father's ghost, Hamlet makes a plan to act mad, to fool people into giving information about the late king’s death.
In Act 2, Scene 2 we question Hamlets mental stability
He becomes everything he hates and a liar, as he is being dishonest about his motives in acting as if he really is mad.
He only has one goal--to get Claudius to confess to killing the King Claudius
Like Claudius, he doesn’t think of anyone else, just the goal.
“I do repent: but heaven hath pleas’d it so/To punish me with this, and this with me,/That I must be their scourge and minister.” (3, 4, 173-175).
When Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius, who was spying behind a curtain, in front of his mother he shows no remorse or regret.
This is an example of the influence of corruption on Hamlet.
The root of Hamlet's madness is his uncertainty, which shows in his decision-making on how to carry out his plan of killing Claudius, and the act that he may or may not be putting on of being insane.
Characters that are corrupted
The effect of corruption is the root cause of Hamlet's uncertainty and madness, as well as the evolution of the mental sanity of other characters in the play (like Gertrude, Ophelia, and Laertes).
Hamlet's madness and corruption is also spurred on by Claudius’s own corruption, which shows how alike the two can actually be.
The corrupt nature of this play also shows us the same lesson that another Shakespeare tragedy, Macbeth, does--nothing good can come from unjust actions spurred on by thirst for power, and revenge.
By having evil thoughts and ruthlessly trying to fight your way through to something that you were not meant to have (basically stopping at nothing, out of selfishness) the mind and morals can become corrupt and destroy the sanity of not just the self, but also the sanity of others.