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Word Count: 1,321
Hamlet one of William Shakespeares earliest tragedies is often thought of as his most personal playwright It is a tale of murder revenge deceit and spying all stemming from the murder of the king of Denmark King Hamlet As Michael Neil summarizes it is a narrative of a king killed by his brother who then marries the dead kings widow of the young price who must pretend to be mad in order to save his own life who eludes a series of traps laid for him by his wicked uncle and who finally revenges his fathers death by killing the uncle Neill 310 Numerous themes and ideas can be recognized throughout the entire body of the play such as revenge appearance versus reality and madness Although there are many contrasting themes that are touched upon throughout the course of the play each is connected to unifying themes and images of poison disease and decay in each of the characters and in Denmark as a whole Before the play even begins Claudius the late King Hamlets brother and his murderer has already corrupted and poisoned the entire state of Denmark Claudius does this by usurping his brothers authority out of jealousy and his own desire to gain power Like a number of other instances during the play Claudius literally uses poison to defeat his enemy When King Hamlet is sleeping in the garden at the castle of Elsinore Claudius comes up and pours a deadly poison into his brothers ear The poisoning of King Hamlets body directly leads to and results in the poisoning of the actual kingdom of Denmark Not only has Claudius succeeded in poisoning the ear of the king he has poisoned the whole ear of Denmark I 5 43-45 With a corrupt impious king holding up a country it is inevitable that his characteristics will affect and seep into his entire kingdom Claudius is able to immorally win over the country
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