Death, Decay and Disease in Hamlet
Within ‘Hamlet’, Shakespeare makes a number of references to Denmark's degraded state due to the deceit that lies within. These references are made by Hamlet, Horatio as well as the apparition, thus enforcing the strong theme of death, decay and disease.
As aforementioned Hamlets makes a number of references to Denmark. Preceding the death of his father and the marriage of his mother, his mental state begins to fall into demise . Although he appears to not have much courage at first, his focus remains on avenging his father whose murder is described as being "most foul." As noted in one of Hamlet's first soliloquies, his downward spiral has already began and already he is contemplating suicide; "O that this too too sullied flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew (I, II, 130)" and "seems to me all the uses of this world... Things rank and gross in nature posses it merely (I, II, 136)." To be degrading to be thinking of imagery including flesh melting shows that Hamlet is not in the state that he ought to be in. Furthermore Shakespeare encourages us to empathize with these emotions by using such rich descriptions.
It could be perhaps argued that Hamlet's state of mind which has become debased, but this is until Horatio claims, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark (I, IV, 90)." The notion of festering carrion being a metaphor for King Hamlets death epitomizes this notion. The ghost furthers this idea by stating at the moment of his death, his skin became "Most lazar-like with vile and loathsome crust all my smooth body (I, V, 72)." This attempts the elucidate on the feeling of death almost like becoming like a leper before death finally takes its toll.
Decay also becomes a strong theme weighing heavily on Hamlet's mind. Whilst talking to Polonius he says, "For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion (II, II, 182)." Although Polonius' appears not to notice this,...