Imagery in Hamlet Imagery is word pictures. Hamlet deals with the imagery of poison, disease and decay. This imagery adds a sense of reality and depth to how characters in the play take revenge on other characters. These word pictures make the reader more sympathetic towards Hamlet. I have chosen five examples in the play to help describe the imagery of poison, disease and decay. Two of these examples are of decay, one of disease, and a following two examples of poison. The imagery of decay in the play Hamlet is quite detailed and puts a very distinct picture in your head. I have chosen two examples of decay.My first example is located in act iv, scene iii on line 20. The play quotes;”Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are eaten at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fatus, and we fat ourselves for maggots.” The quote describes where Polonius has gone. Where he is eaten tells us that he is no longer alive but has been put to be eaten by worms and will eventually decay. My second example for decay quotes ” O heat dry up my brains; fear seven times salt burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!” Disease plays a great part in the play Hamlet. It gives you sense of description and realism. In Hamlet disease is found in act iv, scene I, line 21.It quotes “But, like the owner of a foul disease, to keep it from divulging, let it feed even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?” This quote is once again explaining Poloniuss death. Gertrude is telling the reader that this horrible deed must not be considered as to be left as a rotting body, but as a human living off natures finest food. As you can see in the play Hamlet, poison is the most used for death. At the beginning and the end of the play has poison. So to help the deaths of poison, Shakespeare made it into imagery. The first example would be in the quote, ” Sleeping within me orchad, my custom always of the afternoon, upon my secure hour thy uncle stole with juice of cursed hebona in a vial and in the porches of my ears did pour the leperous distilmentthat swift as quicksilver it courses through the natural gates of the body.” This quote is described by Hamlets father as a ghost. He describing his death that his brother committed. It explains that Hamlets uncle has poured a poison in his fathers ear so that it will run through his whole body and eventually kill him. The second quote describing poison is found in act v, scene v, line 75. It quotes ” O this is the poison of deep grief; it springs all from her fathers death and now behold.” This quote is explaining the effects of the remarkably deadly poison called quicksilver. It is the poison that Hamlets father was killed instantly with. As you can see by reading this essay, it is inevitable that imagery is one of the most important factors of writing. Without describing the actions of important events, you wouldnt get the real feel for the play. Therefore the description of poison, decay and disease in the play, makes you feel a little more sympathetic towards Hamlet.
Free Shakespeare’s Hamlet Essays: Gertrude and Hamlet
Gertrude and Hamlet
Hamlet’s behavior is often explained using Freud’s theory of sexual behavior; however the symptoms of bipolar disease explain Hamlet’s behavior. Bipolar disease is defined as: “This disease causes symptoms like mood swings with periods of both depression and mania. They have consequent changes in thinking and behavior. Bipolar means the sharing of two poles, or high and low, having to do with mood.”(2)
” Hamlet’s behavior throughout the play was extremely physical, excessive talkativeness, destructiveness and sometimes grandiosity. These mood characteristics are the effects of bipolar disease.” (1) Hamlet is extremely physical in his dealings with Ophelia and Gertrude. His excessive talkativeness is most evident in his soliloquies and his dialogue with his mother. His destructiveness is obvious in his conversation with the ghost; his grandiosity in his sarcasm towards Polonius. Incredibly, Bipolar disease describes Hamlet’s behavior very accurately.
When Hamlet’s father was murdered by Claudius, difficulties arose between Hamlet and Gertrude to cope with one another. Hamlet got angry with his mother for remarrying Claudius, his father’s murderer, that he decides to be more rough towards her, simply to gain control over her.
When Hamlet grew up with his father and his mother, they grew up with a disorder known as Bipolar disease. “This is a disease where you think delusional, since it was inherited, passed on from parent to child, Gertrude’s marriage and Hamlet’s reaction to it, could have been the effects of this symptom. Hamlet’s father was “an enabler” who had made it possible for them to function, but now that his father is dead, they found it tough to cope with each other, as the family they once had.”(1)
Hamlet became angry for a reason, which was to try to get attention from his mother. This attention came in a sexual form, as shown when he kissed her and when he groped her. With this new bond, he tried to gain further control over his mother, to try and abolish the marriage between her and Claudius. Two quotes to support this are: Queen: “Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.” (III;iv) Hamlet: “Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge.” (III;iv)
This occurs when he tells Gertrude she can’t move, therefore he shows to the viewers he has power over what she says and does. If he cared, he would let her function as she wanted to, and he would support her decision.