In v.ii., Hamlet refers to Claudius as "this canker of our nature." What makes this appropriate?

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I would argue that it's an entirely appropriate description. Since Claudius murdered his brother and usurped his throne, there's been "something rotten in the state of Denmark." Moral corruption is everywhere; even the air that Hamlet breathes seems to be nothing but "a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors." Moreover, Hamlet is disturbed by what he sees as Claudius's corruption of Gertrude. There's no suggestion that Hamlet's mother has the faintest idea of Claudius's involvement in her late husband's murder—or even that he was murdered—but in her son's eyes her soul has nonetheless been corrupted by the indecent haste with which she remarried and the willingness she's displayed in sharing Claudius's bed.

Hamlet has an idealized notion of womanly virtue, and this explains his being so terribly offended by Gertrude's actions. Though Hamlet is fiercely critical of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 446 words.)

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