The Limit As ' Rot ' Approaches Infinity Essay

1664 Words Apr 1st, 2015 7 Pages
The Limit as ‘Rot’ Approaches Infinity
“To be or not to be: that is the question” (3.1.56) is possibly the most famous rhetorical question in the world. It has been pondered by many bright minds, stripped to its basic structure and yet it eludes a definitive answer. Part of that elusiveness lies in the multitude of motifs/ image patterns that represent the question throughout the course of the play. Out of he many motifs, the one that seems to add the most to the elusiveness to the answer is the motif of poison/decay/rot/disease (‘rot’). Developed by the dialogue and its use of figurative language, ‘rot’ performs three major functions in the play. Firstly, the motif is used to set the overall tone and atmosphere throughout the play. Secondly, the motif acts as the keystone for other motifs as well as themes. Thirdly, its constituents are the root of Hamlet’s death. Therefore, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet the motif of poison/decay/rot/disease (‘rot’) provides overall tone, acts as a keystone for other motifs and themes, and causes Hamlet’s premature demise.
There is an abundance of ‘rot’ descriptions throughout Hamlet. This excessive use highlights a major function of the motif, namely to produce the tone of the play. The tone of a play is its mood, atmosphere, and attitude towards its content. The tone of Hamlet is contemplative, dark, and gruesome. It is emphasized by the use of the ‘rot’ motif in many different situations. One instance would be in the description of heavenly…

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