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The Theme of Corruption in Shakespeare’s Hamlet


The Theme of Corruption in Shakespeare’s Hamlet


Corruption can be seen in different types, provided to birth by various authors and played to excellence by different characters. This holds true in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The play’s central premise is that corruption permeates the lives of people who are close to it. It can be easily seen in the play as it unfolds scene by scene and can be experienced even until completion of the play in which the corruption of the characters, the land and the beings of the people reach their pinnacle.

In the play, Hamlet, it starts with Horatio and the other guards experiencing the ghost of their king who has just recently died. This struggling king left his only son, Hamlet who then discovers himself attempting to interact with the ghost. He follows the ghost and then discovers that his dad’s death was a prepared murder.

Due to the fact that of this Hamelet seeks vengeance and starts to act oddly in the presence of his people. Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Hamlet’s pals from his education and they spy on Hamlet accordingly. On the other hand, Hamlet discovers that he would go about exposing the murder to the king by composing a play comparable to the situations surrounding the murder.

The play is acted out in front of the king and when he notifications the resemblance, he bolts out of the space. Gertrude talks to Hamlet in her space in order to have Hamlet open up about his actions.

Meanwhile Polonius conceals in the space with the intention of eavesdropping on Hamlet. Hamlet on the other hand decides to murder the king but waits when he sees the king hoping. Hamlet, being called upon by his mom senses that there is an eavesdropper in the space stabs the concealing figure and then manages to eliminate Polonius.

Hamlet unsuccessful at his intent to convince his mom that the king seethes then finds out about the kings orders to put him to his death. Due to the fact that of this, Hamlet then composes a letter that would put his escorts to death. Hamlet learns that Ophelia committed suicide since of the death of her dad.

He then comes across Laertes, who is Ophelia’s sibling and the king’s child in the burial. Among the efforts to kill Hamlet goes to Gertrude, which is a poisoned drink. While Laertes utilizes a sword with a poisoned suggestion. Hamlet manages to eliminate Laertes and lets him finish the beverage. In the end, no one is left and all who have been corrupted pass away.

The main style of the play is all about corruption. You will have the ability to see it through the different lives that have actually been linked in the play. It can be seen that the different characters who are involved in the play seem to have one thing in typical– they have actually all been damaged in one method or another.

If one looks at the different paths that these individuals have gone through, one will discover that there is more to the shallow motives of the people. If one looks at Hamlet from an extremely individual view, if you did not understand the various scenarios was playing around him, you would most likely think that he has actually gone mad. That remains in fact, what other people considered him.


There are so many levels of corruption that a person can discover in the play. One of that is the psychological kind of corruption. Cladius really eloquently puts it when he says, “Through inclination be sharp as will: my stronger guilt beats my strong intent; and like a male to double bussiness bound, I stand in pause where i first start and both overlook’ (Act 111, scene 11)

He seems to find himself corrupted in a way that he has no control over it. This is why he had the ability to murder the king himself through the plot that was provided to Hamlet by his dad’s ghost. This is a testament to the truth that individuals can be corrupted in manner ins which they don’t know about.

Wormald discusses that there is a corruption of both human and natural orders in this play merely since of the repellent nature of the deeds that the story perpetuates. (Wormald, 2002) Because of this, the character of Claudius can be considered as a really wise and creative individual. In the play, he is understood to be someone manipulates different events as well as people for the sole purpose of remaining innocent.

However, he is as guilty as any killer who eliminates an individual firsthand. The difference with Claudius is that he becomes very manipulative and with the corruption within him, he then continues to corrupt other individuals as well.

Claudius’s ability at duplicity frequently hides his true intent. One of the examples of this kind of action can be seen when he incites Laertes to kill Hamlet when he says, “Laertes, was your dad dear to you? Or are you like the painting of a sorrow, a face without a heart?” (Act 4, scene 7)

The Kingdom of Denmark

The Kingdom of Denmark is a kingdom that can be referred to as being drowned in corruption. Because of the different corruption being portrayed in the play, it is, no doubt, among the sources of corruption for the entire play. Hunt describes this world as “a world that has actually gone through a radical fall or change into an ‘unweeded garden’ overwhelmed with corruption.” (Hunt, 2004)

One might even ignore that the queen so promptly married the uncle of Hamlet and just concentrate on the fact that the queen even married Hamlet’s uncle after the death of the former king. This particular circumstances frowned upon by Parker when he discusses that the very act of the queen and the new king coupling in bed is as if the act is “stewed in corruption” (Parker, 2003)

Another thing that might be viewed as corrupted in the kingdom is the manner in which the King plotted to eliminate Hamlet by the offering of a drink with poison. This is among the circumstances that the corruption within the political framework of a kingdom is highlighted. (Alexander, 1972)

Queen Gertrude

Among the corruptions that can be seen in this character is the corruption in her morality. It is rather apparent that there was something wrong with the way that whatever was managed just because of one of Hamlet’s remarks about how quick her mother wed Claudius. Hamlet states “a little month, or ere those shoes were old, with which she followed my bad fathers body, like Niobe, all tears-why she even she … wed with my uncle” (Act 1, cene 11)

The method Hamlet phrased it is in a way inquisitive and at the exact same time similar to an immoral habits. Despite the fact that one might argue the discomfort that being left with nobody to comfort her in all kinds of methods, the truth remains that the queen did not even grieve his father’s lack. It could be gleaned from the confession of the Ghost when he called Claudius as “that incestuous, that adulterate beast.”

Because of this, the corruption that existed at the time was extremely substantial due to the fact that it shed light on the character of Claudius even prior to the death of the king. Because the ghost called the king an adulterer, it therefore follows that the king, while he lived, knew of what was occurring between her better half and Claudius. This now sheds brand-new info on how ethical corruption has permeated even the queen.


With regard to Hamlet’s only love, Ophelia, her corruption could be classified as having no ideal thinking when she committed suicide. Even in the face of death, it would take someone who is not sane to take her own life.

Although one could just argue that the sorrow that Ophelia was so great since her daddy was apparently killed, it would still take some sort of corruption for Ophelia to be able to devote suicide. Because of the corruption that rubbed off Ophelia, all the lies and the deceit around her began to take its toll and what was planted in her mind ultimately began to decipher.


The kingdom, the damsel, the queen and the king– all of them are ultimately captured and consumed in this intricate spider’s web of lies, deceit and corruption in the latter stage of the play. In the center of all of the corruption is Hamlet.

He sees the adulterer, he manages to inadvertently kill somebody and ultimately he is taken in by the corruption with his death. All of the important things, locations and individuals that remain in the play Hamlet all tackle portraying about a world gone wrong since of corruption.

With that being said, it ought to be speculated that corruption can not be included in oneself. It will ultimately spread out throughout the various locations of one’s instant surroundings. All of the darkness that lives in a person will infect others if it is not stopped early on.

Eventually, all of the corruption in the lives of the characters in the play consumed them entirely, either on function or otherwise. It is an often-used cliché when people state that outright power damages definitely. In the case of Hamlet and the other characters, they acted as excellent examples of the outcome of corruption.


Wormald, Mark. (2002 ). Hopkins, Hamlet, and the Victorians: Carrion Comfort. Victorian Poetry, Vol. 40.

Hunt, Maurice. (2004 ). “Forward Backwards” Time and the Armageddon in Hamlet. Relative Drama. Vol. 38.

Alexander, Nigel. (1972 ). Poison, Play, and Duel: A Research Study in Hamlet. Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4

Thomson, Ann. (2006 ). Hamlet Arden Shakespeare: Third Series. Arden, Wales.

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