Hamlet Metaphor

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Iterative use of vivid and detailed imagery in a piece of literature is often a way of expressing a theme or concept in a literary work. This is the case in William Shakespeare"'"s Hamlet, a revenge tragedy that continually depicts the vibrant metaphors of manifesting corruption and festering disease in order to auger the impending calamities in the state of Denmark. Throughout Shakespeare"'"s play, there are successive images of deterioration, decay and death. These images are skilfully accomplished through the use of metaphors of rotting and dead gardens. Shakespeare wonderfully creates these metaphors that add great dimension to the play of Hamlet. The garden metaphor is all throughout the play of Hamlet. This metaphor can be viewed in many different ways. Firstly it can be seen as the state that Denmark is in under Claudius"'"s rule and how he is the wrong person in power. A garden is dependent upon two things: the rule of nature and the tender care of the gardener. Claudius, being the gardener, does not tend to his garden, Denmark, adequately enough so the garden begins to decay and eventually succumbs to his poor care. Another way of interpreting the garden metaphor is to see it as a reference to the Garden of Eden and more importantly, the eventual fall of man. Denmark was once under a beautiful rule by Hamlet Sr. but then is overcome by the malignant rule of Claudius and his crooked ways. Similarly, Adam and Eve once lived in the beautiful Garden of Eden but then were exiled to the wilderness of the earth because of their crooked ways. While these are only two of many interpretations of the garden metaphor, these are very important in creating the images of sickness, decay and death in William Shakespeare"'"s Hamlet. One of the many instances in Hamlet where gardens are used to project themes of death and decay is in Act 1, Scene 2 where Hamlet says '"'"'"Tis an unweeded garden / That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature / Possess it merely'"' (135-137). In this short passage, which is also Hamlet"'"s first soliloquy, Shakespeare introduces the thought of a rotting garden. This '"'unweeded garden'"' is Denmark"'"s state before Claudius"'"s rule. It shows that under Claudius"'"s rule Denmark '"'grows to seed'"' from his neglect and corruption. The fact that Hamlet feels that the garden is '"'grow[ing] to seed,'"' means that he recognizes that Denmark is not going to regain control under Claudius"'"s rule. His rule will lead to the fall of Denmark. Another important point in this quote is that through the metaphor Hamlet sees Denmark as being completely taken over by things that are rank and gross like the corruption of characters like Polonius and Claudius. This passage is very important in Hamlet because it is the first reference to a garden in dismay and more importantly, it references to the horrible condition that Denmark is in. Another instance where Shakespeare creates a metaphor between the state of Denmark and a garden is when Marcellus says to Horatio '"'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark'"' (1.4.67). This passage is very important in the play because it shows that Hamlet is not the only person concerned with the position that Denmark is in. This metaphor is hinting that Denmark is being left untended by the protector King Claudius. As the king, Claudius should be tending to Denmark to make it flourish and grow instead, Claudius neglects it and Denmark begins to wither away and eventually dies under his rule. This disregard of his '"'garden'"' shows that Claudius is the wrong person on the throne of Denmark. This excerpt also creates a sense of sickness and infection, exactly how an unattended garden would be. This is not a good image for Claudius and Denmark because people do not want to be in a country that is rotting from within. Another insinuation from this quote is that there might be a real illness that is infecting the people of the court. The image of rotting and diseased...
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