In these verses, Hamlet is using a Homeric simile (an extended or detailed comparison of several or more lines) to make his point that a single negative quality of a country or a person can cancel out, in the minds of others, their positive attributes. He says the following about the boisterous behavior at the Danish court:
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.
They clepe us drunkards and with swinish praise
Soil our addition. And indeed it takes
From our achievements. . . .
So oft it chances in particular men
That for some vicious mole of nature in them. . . .
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect . . .
Their virtues else. . . .
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault. The dram of evil
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
In other words, a single fault or defect will spoil for others a multitude of virtues that person might possess, just as the Danes are apparently censured by other countries for a...
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