The Dominant Images of the Play Powerfully Reinforce the Main Theme

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude Pages: 4 (1295 words) Published: March 18, 2011
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the theme of corruption and decay is a running feature. We follow a sequence of this corruption mostly through one character, King Claudius, which inevitably leads to all other characters who come in contact with this man being ultimately tarnished also. The very moment we are informed of Claudius’ “foul and most unnatural murder”, the state of Denmark begins to perish. I believe that this evident theme of corruption and decay is reinforced by Shakespeare time and time again by his masterful use of dominant images throughout. Shakespeare tends to create patterns of imagery to define his characters and in this case his themes.

I will discuss three images in relation to the play’s theme. One form of this imagery is that of the weed, which despite best efforts to overcome it, still manages to thrive and overrun the better part of human nature. Similar to the multiplication of weeds is the spread of disease, another potent metaphor that is used often throughout Hamlet. Finally, there is poison, which acts in many forms both literally and metaphorically.

We are first introduced to the image of the disease and the weed near the beginning of the play. Shakespeare uses the image of the weed in Hamlet’s soliloquy just before he has learned of his father’s murder. Hamlet has just met with Claudius and Gertrude, who have convinced him not to go to Wittenburg, but to stay in Denmark with them. Hamlet’s grief is heartfelt and is exacerbated by his mother’s untimely marriage to his uncle “so soon that the funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables”. He quickly goes on to speak about the corruption in Denmark, and expresses his hatred for the world believing that it is”an unweeded garden/ that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature/ Posses it merely”. It is clear to me that Denmark is rotting from the inside out while the entire world is corrupt to young Hamlet – reiterating the main theme of the play using this...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Death theme In the play Hamlet by Shakespeare Essay
  • An Analysis of the Theme of Revenge in William Shakespeare's Play Hamlet Research Paper
  • Hamlet and Play Essay
  • Hamlet and Play Essay
  • Main Themes in Pride and Prejudice Essay
  • Essay about Boys and Girls Main Theme
  • Power theme in the play 'The Tempest' Essay
  • Macbeth's Main Theme Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free