The Death Of William Shakespeare 's Hamlet Essay

968 Words Nov 4th, 2015 4 Pages
Both physically and metaphorically, the theme of poison and disease root themselves deeply in the sick characters and the infected kingdom of Denmark in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The royal court, along with the country, declines as the play progresses despite the protagonist’s search for justice. Using the metaphor of an epidemic, prince Hamlet can be seen as the sole plague doctor who ultimately contracts the sickness himself in an attempt to cure others and the land. Shakespeare successfully ties the individual characters of the play with the idea of a poisoned Denmark through characterizing the toxin as a mix of corruption and deception, by showing the effects and reasoning behind the sickness, and following Hamlet’s decline as the sole carrier of the antidote for the kingdom. All the characters in Hamlet suffer from a plague composed of both corruption and deception. In essence, the sickness that Shakespeare works into the play as a major device is both a political disease that upsets Denmark and an ailment that either physically or mentally afflicts the characters.The root of the contagion stems directly from “the leperous distilment” (1.5.64) that Claudius uses to kill King Hamlet. This rapidly spreading, on-contact transfer of the disease is so powerful that even Claudius ends up consumed by his own demons, feeling remorse and guilt gnaw at him: “O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven” (3.3.36). The destructive “symptoms” of the disease are evident early in…

Related Documents