The theme of Hamlet;Death and Decay

Essay by ColumbiaworkerUniversity, Bachelor's March 2004

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Shakespeare's play Hamlet is a well known and has been overly discussed about throughout the world. Finding out just one theme of Hamlet has been an argument for a long time and many agree with me in saying that there isn't just one theme but many sub-themes that go on throughout the whole story. As I read the play, Hamlet, I was filled with many images that sparked my imagination and was mostly dark and dreadful. The imagery of disease, corruption, and decay contributes to the theme of death, and decay. The aura of tragedy is present from the beginning to the end of the play; the only slight reprieve of the dark mood comes in the Gravediggers' scene, but even the comedy of this scene is morbid. The play immediately starts out with this evil dark imagery and is clear throughout the play and not limited to the last act when majority of the cast is struck by death.

From the beginning of the play the reader/viewer can tell that this play is not going to be about bunny rabbits and fields of flowers. In the first scene, an atmosphere of darkness and uneasiness is immediately established. The gloom of the castle, the eerie midnight darkness, and the "bitter cold" all create a sense of dread as the change of guard takes place and the soldiers talk in fearful tones about the ghostly figure that they have seen. The soldier on duty, Francisco, feels "sick at heart" and eagerly welcomes Bernardo, even though he admits that his has been a "quiet guard." Francisco's sickness cannot be merely caused by the coldness of the winter night. It gives imaginative expression to the rottenness in the state of Denmark. Shakespeare marvelously establishes the place and mood within the first twenty...