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Thread: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

  1. #1
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    Jul 2012

    Exclamation Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

    Hi everyone

    In Hamlet, Marcellus says "something is rotten in the state of Denmark"

    Do you believe that this is an accurate assessment of his society as corruption is shown to be widespread and infects everyone

    Quotes will be helpful that back up the above statement.

    What corruption is shown in the play, like corruption in Denmark, acts of corruption by characters both in own actions and actions towards Hamlet?

    Thanks everyone

  2. #2
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Mar 2008

  3. #3
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    trapped in a prologue.
    Blog Entries
    That or someone who has really taken to his/her school's system of poorly laid out essays which provide little room for thought and exploration.

    But I will go with homework.

    OP, do your own homework. If you have specific questions/are having trouble, ask - but this is a question that can easily be answered by reading the play
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
    The statement from Marcellus about something rotten in Denmark has nothing to do with Danish society or Denmark in general. Something is rotten in Denmark though and it is Claudius. He has killed his brother to usurp the crown and queen. He took the opportunity of Hamlet's youth and his being away at school to take the crown from his brother. Claudius acts as a disease upon the state. Hidden disease imagery has some prominence in the play. "Offence is rank...smells to heaven", "skin and film the ulcerous place", "contagious blastments", "impostume that inward breaks", "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought", "thoughtsick", "pleurisy", hectic in [the] blood", "wounded name", "vicious mole", "tent him to the quick", "purgation", "apoplexy", "cicatrice" and so on.

    Claudius has infected Gertrude, according to the Ghost. We see in 4.7 how Claudius seduces Laertes to conspire in the death of Hamlet. Then there is Rosencrantz & Guildenstern who are used by Claudius against Hamlet. Then there is Polonius who is given free reign by Claudius to spy not only on Hamlet but Hamlet and his mother in her closet.

    There are twin tragedies here. One of course is Hamlet. Though one can debate his culpability in the play. The other and I think bigger tragedy is Ophelia. Together Hamlet and Ophelia represent the future for the ruling family in Denmark. Claudius is the disease that kills the whole family.

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