Under the mask of a well governed country, there lays the terminal disease of Denmark. William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” portrays the image of disease which causes the deterioration of Denmark. The country had a king with the ability to keep the country healthy. Then Denmark experienced disorder upon his sudden yet unnatural death. Upon his death, the ghost of King Hamlet sent his son Hamlet to avenge his death. The entire kingdom is filled with hate and discouragement. The thematic image of rottenness illustrates the moral and political corruption of the society in three different ways. At first, this fatal collapse begins with the foreshadowing mood in the beginning of the play. Then, it emerges into the decay of virtues and leadership from various characters. Follow by Hamlet’s mask of madness for vengeance. With no cure, the disease leads to the corruption of the country.
Images of disease and sickness foreshadow the unhealthy condition of Denmark. The first act displays the mood and tone of the play that revolves around the theme of moral and political corruption. When the play begins, Francisco states, “I am sick at heart” (I.i.6). Immediately, the image of sickness can be seen from this statement. Then, in the fifth act, Marcellus enters talking to Horatio. He states, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (I.iv.67). The ghost is an ominous omen for Denmark. This is predicting the coming sickness of kingdom. Then Hamlet says, “tis an unweeded garden, that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature” (I.ii.136). An unweeded garden is one that is not well maintained. No harmony can be Duong 1
seen in this garden. Hamlet’s mother marries his uncle upon his father’s death. Therefore, Hamlet’s world is out of order. As a result, the image of disease and sickness from the first act forms a mirror reflection upon the political corruption of play.
The decay of virtues and leadership from various characters also contribute to...