Corruption Found in Hamlet

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Repentance Pages: 2 (714 words) Published: December 18, 2005
"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below": Corruption and Confusion found in Hamlet.

"Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him" (Luke 17:3). This quote from the Bible relates to the themes found in Hamlet. After the murder of King Hamlet, Claudius neither repents that he murdered his own brother nor does he show any sign of remorse. In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare suggests that no sin is too great for God to forgive, but first we must ask for forgiveness; not to seek forgiveness is the greatest sin of all, worse even than murder. Prince Hamlet is justly angered by his uncle's actions and vows to "sweep to [his] revenge."(1.5.37). Although Claudius never asks God's forgiveness, there are many other characters in the play who commit sins but later express remorse.

Laertes plays a main part of the king's plan for Hamlet's death. The king plans a fencing match in which Laertes' sword will be poisoned. Upset by his father's murder and the death of his sister, Ophelia, he agrees to the king's proposal: "[Claudius] is justly served. It is a poison tempered by himself. Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet. Mine and my father's death come not upon thee, nor thine on me."(5.2.359). Laertes has wounded Hamlet with the poisonous blade and once Hamlet realizes the trap, he picks up the sword and Laertes is also slain. Although it seemed like a good idea to begin with for Laertes, it came back to kill him in the end. He says the king is justly served because his actions, as well as the king's, were not honest. Once Laertes has informed Hamlet of his "foul practice," he asks to exchange forgiveness. Hamlet replies, "Heaven make thee free of it. I follow thee." (5.2.364).

Near the beginning of the play, soon after the death of King Hamlet, Gertrude quickly marries King Hamlet's far inferior brother, Claudius. Greatly upset by this, Prince Hamlet recalls how much Queen Gertrude and...
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