Why does Shakespeare use the theme or motif of decay/rottenness/disease in Hamlet

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"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark," observes Marcellus in the fourth scene of Act I. In truth, the Danish court is corrupt. And, it is in the second scene of this first act that it becomes apparent that under the reign of Claudius Denmark is also weak because only by supplicating Norway does Claudius prevent Fortinbras from retaking lands lost by his father to King Hamlet. This corruption and weakness effect the decay and moral disease of the Danish court.

  • Weakness

Weakness is demonstrated in the characters of Gertrude and Ophelia. In her weakness, Gertrude marries her brother-in-law rather quickly after the sudden death of her husband. She gives audience to the conspiratorial Polonius, believing him when he tells her that Hamlet is mad, and in...

(The entire section contains 381 words.)

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