Corruption/Morality in Hamlet


The Corruption of Denmark/The World

  • A world that has undergone a radical fall or transformation into an 'unweeded garden' overwhelmed with corruption' - Hunt.
  • 'Hamlet articulates a crisis in the decay of a traditional social order in England' - Dollimore
  • Francisco: ’Tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart'.
  • Marcellus: 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.'
  • Hamlet - Guildernstern: 'You would play upon me...You would pluck out the heart of my mystery.' Spying
  • Hamlet: 'Tis an unweeded garden, that grows to seed things rank and gross in nature'.
  • Hamlet - Claudius: 'We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots.' In death
  • Hamlet: 'The sun breed maggots in a dead dog'.


  • 'Polonius seems to love his children; he seems to have the welfare of the Kingdom in mind. His means of actions however are totally corrupt' - Rebecca Smith. 
  • 'Trained his daughter to be obedient and chaste and is able to use her as a piece of bait for spying' - Rebecca Smith. 
  • Hamlet about Polonius: 'Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet:' 
  • Polonius - Claudius: 'Behind the arras I’ll convey myself, to hear the process' Spying is his hamartia.


  • The king & the queens marriage bed is "stewed in corruption" - Parker.
  • 'Corruption within the political framework of a kingdom is highlighted' - Alexander.
  • 'There is a corruption of both human and natural orders in this play simply because of the vile nature that the story perpetuates' - Wormald.
  • Ghost - Hamlet: 'Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast'.
  • Ghost - Hamlet: 'Foul and most unnatural murder.'
  • Hamlet: 'Hyperion to a satyr. So loving to my mother'.
  • Hamlet: 'Damned smiling villain!'
  • Hamlet: 'The dram of evil doth all the noble substance of a doubt to his own scandal.' One persons evil spreads to all good people
  • Claudius: 'Oh, my offence is rank. It smells to heaven.'
  • Claudius: 'Pray can I not.Though inclination be as sharp as will.'
  • Claudius: 'My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent'.
  • Claudius: 'What if this cursèd hand were thicker than itself with brother’s blood? Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens, to wash it white as snow? '
  • Claudius: 'O wretched state! O bosom black as death!'
  • Claudius: 'My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.'
  • Claudius…


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