Hamlet - Corruption

Examine Shakespeare’s presentation of the themes of corruption and disorder in Hamlet. Show how far your appreciation and understanding of this aspect of Hamlet have been informed by your study of The Revenger’s Tragedy.

Corruption is a key theme throughout Hamlet and is portrayed in many scenes through different aspects of the play. Greed and the thirst for power become the invitation for this corruption. Corruption in Hamlet is represented as a chain of events starting with greed; spreading by manipulation through unquestioning loyalty thus corruption manifests itself as tragic revenge.
For example, right at the beginning of the play, the idea of corruption arises through the quotation of,
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
In this declarative, the word “something” is ambiguous and makes the audience question what Marcellus could be referring to. Although, there can be a few interpretations of how the state is “rotten”. An example of the rottenness in Denmark could be the death of King Hamlet. We find out that it was Claudius who killed King Hamlet and stole his crown and his wife. He killed the King by pouring the poisonous “juice of cursed hebona” into his ear. The poison would have invaded his body as “swift as a quicksilver it courses through the natural gates and alleys of the body”. In a sense, the poison used by Claudius to kill the King can be interpreted in a way that it spreads throughout the entire country of Denmark, therefore causing it to “rot”. The image of rotting along with the sense of released odour permeating far and wide symbolises the infectious mass of sin. There is a suggested transformation of a normal human turning into a disgusting, purposeless pulp which could symbolise the effect of sin on the human soul, overcoming it with corruption. The use of the word “rotting” itself creates the sense of corruption and adding the murder of the King by his own brother shadows the theme of corruption. Another interpretation of...