Hamlet: Death and Decay

THESIS: causation of Denmark’s demolition (decay + death)? Unnatural deed, treacherous act of fratricidal regicide, caused ‘unnatural troubles’, plagued Denmark (motif of disease)
Context… Divine Right of Kings in Jacobean era, high treason, punishable by death (capital punishment)
Claudius’ act causes withering and decay of Denmark quote Act 3 scene 3 ‘My offence is rank it smells to heaven!’, creates primal curse on Denmark, taint of it reaches heaven, this offence intoxicates Hamlet’s psyche
CRIT: He has ‘wise action’, ‘faults are forced upon him’ NO, acknowledges destruction, not repentant, ‘”Forgive me father: that cannot be”‘, obsessed with power, vaulting ambition
CRIT: T S Elliot
2. Hamlet’s mental decay, madness and self-loathing quote ‘foul and pestilent congregation of vapours’, air he breathes is infected as immersed in Claudius’ crime, governs his mind, plagues him, caused self-loathing ‘O that this too too sullied flesh would melt’, wishes for physical extinction upon himself
PERFORMANCE: Paapa, Simon Godwin’s 2016 performance cries, gains audience’s sympathy, simultaneously increase hatred for the machiaveillan
CRIT: Romantic critic Coleridge… ‘Dies a victim of mere circumstance’, of being plagued by Claudius’ unnatural act
Turner’s 2014 National Theatre production of physical decay (decomposition) shown on stage, rubble and dirt forebodes… The imploding physical break down/decay of the monarchy, which represent Hamlet, builds tension
3. DEATH: supernatural embodies decomposition of Denmark, intolerant to the rule of Claudius Guard in Act 1, after seeing ghost, ‘there is something rotten in this state of Denmark’,
Ghost crit: Jameson 1577 Renaissance, ‘feared high treason very superstitious, deterred by gruesome nature of ghost

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