Rotten In Hamlet

514 Words3 Pages
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (I.iv.32) Marcellus declares to Horatio as Hamlet chases after the ghost of his father. This quote, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is actually a metaphor for all things “rotten” within the play. Marcellus means that the King’s Ghost is a bad omen, but the quote itself symbolizes how Gertrude and Claudius’ incestuous marriage is causing decay of the royal family in Denmark. The marriage between Claudius and Gertrude is the source of grief in Hamlet. Claudius murders his brother, King Hamlet, committing the oldest sin, in order to obtain the throne and marry his wife a mere two months later. These crimes trap the dead king’s soul on Earth, forcing him to remain a ghost until he is avenged, which sparks…show more content…
Ophelia’s madness is attributed to the death of her father, Polonius, when Claudius announces “O, this poison of the deep grief; it springs/ All from her father’s death” (IV.v.128). This rapid deterioration of Ophelia’s mental state is indeed, rotten, and is simply one tragic event of many that results indirectly from the marriage of Claudius and Gertrude. The poison that destroys Ophelia is not just the “poison of grief,” but rather the poison and rot of the royal family taking its toll, and she’s simply fallen victim to it. The decay continues to eat away at the royal family, and eventually, destroys them all. The King, Queen, Hamlet, and Laertes are all slain by one another; Denmark crumbles from the inside out as a direct result the “carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts” (V.ii.177) that all took place because of the marriage of Claudius and Gertrude. This final struggle is characterized by the toxic relationships caused by Claudius and Gertrude: from the need for revenge by their nephew-son Hamlet to Laertes desire to revenge Polonius, who was killed when Hamlet mistook him for the

More about Rotten In Hamlet

Open Document