Analysis of Famous Phrase by William Shakespeare “Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark”
William Shakespeare is a classic, whose name is outstanding for all – from schoolchildren to old people. He is the creator of a huge art universe thanks to his amazing imagination and wisdom. He excellently understood people, which helped him to more accurately describe his characters, to anticipate their actions and show it in writing, that takes the reader’s breathe away and in the 21st century, after many years and that forever will remain.
Each of his plays was subjected to an analysis of many critics. Each critic’s opinions were different, but they were similar in one thing, none of them dared to challenge the greatness of Shakespeare and his work.
Hamlet: The Values of Renaissance
The most famous work is “Hamlet”. This is the tragic play that will not leave indifferent any connoisseur of Shakespearean culture that has been translated into almost all languages of the world and not by one publishing house. An impressive number of times, isn’t it?
On the example of Hamlet, a popular tragedy, we can examine in detail the values of the Renaissance. Shakespeare, with his understanding of the world and people, conveys the attitude of a person to the world around him. Here you can find the relationship between reality and ideas about that era.
The Danish prince and his subjects, the fine line between pretense and insanity, leads to incorrigible consequences and the death of many people close to these events described in the play.
Hamlet is a hero born in the spirit of the Renaissance. His tragedy shows that at a late stage, the ideology of the Renaissance is in crisis. Hamlet takes the trouble of reviewing and reevaluating not just medieval values, but also the values of humanism, and reveals the illusory nature of humanistic ideas about the world of unlimited freedom and direct action.
The Key Phrase
“Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark” – this phrase even today opens up a whole new subtext, but the meaning remains unchanged.
Those words spoken by the officer Marcello have become famous for today. It can be interpreted in different ways, but it has the one sense, it’s about broken prejudices and even about fantasies. Such a feeling that the “rose-colored glasses” have broken and there are now not the bright colors of fake life, but the gray color of being in the eyes.
The events preceding this phrase are sad: Hamlet loses his beloved father, his ideal. And the mother does things that are completely unworthy of the grieving widow. These factors were driving crazy the Danish prince and his friends, in particular, the officer Marcello see it.
Seems that all subjects in Denmark don’t grieve for the loss of the great king, all their attention is focused on the wedding and on their own pleasures. There is no unity in which the grieving Prince believed. That’s why the society “rotted”, everyone who was near wasn’t honest – all instantly became indifferent and neutral.
With these words, the author shows that the prince is aware of the hostility of the world around him: “The time is out of joint: O cursed spite. That ever I was born to set it right!” says Hamlet and understands the whole gravity of the situation that lay on his shoulders. This is an incredible responsibility; for him, evil is not just the murderer of his father, evil, this is what surrounds him such a society – this is a society of indifferent people, which can not be remedied alone. The confrontation of one against the whole world is shown in Hamlet’s inner conflict with himself in moments of indecision and thoughts of premature death and suicide, which is so sinful.
The Modern Meaning
That is how one can say about “treason” in our society if compare with the company of friends who for a long time were friendly and loving each other. But at one point, when sorrow is overtaken by this company (the death of one of them), just one mourner will remain, and the others will continue to “be friends” and live in their familiar world as if nothing happened. In this case, the phrase “Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark” will be perfect. It will display everything that is happening. After all, “rot” this is not a direct indication that somewhere something has decayed and become rotten, it’s a direct designation to an inner state of people who are true only to themselves.
No matter how great the word “egoist” sounds in our modern world, it doesn’t bear anything good in itself. People are not goods that can be used for their own purposes and then discarded. Without contact with society, no one can survive, even introverts cannot do without a minimal connection with it.