March 13 2013
Throughout the play of Hamlet, dark and evil strikes the characters in mix of insanity, incest, murder, lies, and betrayal. There is nothing pure in this play at all. Claudius, the king, is a murderer, liar and even marries his brother wife. Hamlet, the prince, is in sought of revenge and will do anything to avenge his father’s death, even lie and pretend to be crazy. So perchance if there is nothing pure happening in Denmark, then something sure is rotten.
The quote “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” spoken by Marcellus, the royal guard, is probably the most memorable and used quote of Hamlet. I believe that this quote is completely accurate in stating that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and that multiple people are to blame. The biggest stink that is contributing to this rot is the murder of Old King Hamlet. There are also smaller stenches such as Claudius’s lies and incest with Gertrude, Hamlets’ lies and quest for revenge, then lastly poor Ophelia’s insanity.
The first “stink”, is all about Claudius. While Hamlet is away, he murders Old King Hamlet out of jealousy and hate; he then marries his brother’s widow less than month after the death of Old King Hamlet. This event is the spark that ignites the flame behind Hamlets revenge. As Hamlet says “a little more kin less than kind” (as cited in Folger Shakespeare Library Hamlet- Act 1 Scene 2 lines 67) he is referring to his uncle and how they are related ,but ,he is mad at his mother and him for not even letting his father’s body get cold in the ground before they get married. Hamlet is soon visited by the Ghost of his father and finds out how he is murdered. Hamlet then spends the rest of the play contemplating whether or not to kill his uncle or to kill him.
Hamlet provides more “stink” than what most people would think. Hamlet is a compulsive liar and there is nothing to disprove this. He lies to get this best friends killed, lies to his lover and lies to the whole state of Denmark while he pretends to be criminally insane. He even kills Polonius on accident, and then justifies it, when the he is completely a fault. “Make you to ravel all this matter out: That I essentially am not in madness But mad in craft.’Twere good you let him know” (as cited in No Fear Shakespeare Act 3 Scene 4 lines 190-192) in this quote from the scene where Hamlet kills Polonius mistaking him for Claudius, Hamlet is telling his own mother to keep the lie going that his is insane, even though he is not. He also tells his mom to make sure that she tells Claudius that his is mad because it is all part of his calculated plan. Personally, I think he is not just pretending to be crazy. Another unmistakable stink that Hamlet places in Denmark is when he changes the letter that gives instructions to kill him and replaces his name with two of his best friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and then instead of Hamlet, those two are killed. Hamlets Friends had been there for him ever since he was little. Now that this whole revenge scheme has been going on, he then decides that they are not trustworthy and he has no guilt in killing them. Sounds like a great friend to right? Wrong, they were his friends for a reason and Hamlet cannot justify killing anybody, even if they are not trusty worthy. Lastly, the cherry on top of this mound of Rottenness is little Ophelia’s insanity. Ophelia is a poor soul who is both naïve yet completely aware. Ophelia is love struck by Hamlet and even lets him seduce her and lets him into her bed. After King Hamlet’s death Hamlet changes but still has his love for Ophelia. Then when Ophelia finds out that Hamlet killed her father, even though by accident, she goes insane. I