The Corruption in Hamlet

Central to the plot and the themes developed in Shakespeare's Hamlet, are the varying elements of corruption which occur during the play. This is echoed in Marcellus' famous comment of 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,' when Hamlet is beckoned away by the Ghost (1.4.90). As the play continues and the story enfolds, it becomes apparent that there truly is 'something rotten in the state of Denmark,' and rather that it is not just one 'something,' but many things.

The most obvious example of corruption is the story of the late King Hamlet's murder by his brother Claudius. When Prince Hamlet goes to speak with the Ghost he learns that his father's death was not an accident, as was officially reported, but instead that it was a 'Murder most foul . . . strange and unnatural,' (1.5.27-28) committed by King Hamlet's brother who 'Now wears his crown' (1.5.39). While this act was committed before the play even begins, it sets the stage for all the events which follow, descending into a state just as corrupt as this first crime.

A continuance of the murder of the King, is the soon following marriage of the widowed Queen to none other than Claudius, the murderer. While...

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