Iterative use of vivid and detailed imagery in a piece of literature is often a way of expressing a theme or concept in a literary work. This is the case in William Shakespeare"'"s Hamlet, a revenge tragedy that continually depicts the vibrant metaphors of manifesting corruption and festering disease in order to auger the impending calamities in the state of Denmark. Throughout Shakespeare"'"s play, there are successive images of deterioration, decay and death. These images are skilfully accomplished through the use of metaphors of rotting and dead gardens. Shakespeare wonderfully creates these metaphors that add great dimension to the play of Hamlet.
The garden metaphor is all throughout the play of Hamlet. This metaphor can be viewed
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This is not a good image for Claudius and Denmark because people do not want to be in a country that is rotting from within. Another insinuation from this quote is that there might be a real illness that is infecting the people of the court. The image of rotting and diseased people creates the impression of illness that leads to contagion and eventually death: death of the people, death of the country. From this single quote, Shakespeare has created so many different images of sickliness, decay and disease though the comparison of Denmark to a '"'rank and gross'"' garden.
Not only do Hamlet and Marcellus use garden metaphors to allude to the state of Denmark but the Ghost does as well. In Act 1 Scene 5, the ghost of Hamlet Sr. says '"'And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed / That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf / Wouldst thou not stir in this'"' (33-35). The Ghost is explaining how his death happened to Hamlet and the Ghost feels that if this does not disturb Hamlet enough to take revenge on his father he is more blissfully mindless than a weed that '"'decays under its own excessive growth'"' on the wharf of Lethe (1684). This fat weed is growing because of Claudius"'"s carelessness for Denmark that leads to the manifestation of even more disease, which causes Denmark to rot from within. The image that Shakespeare creates using such words as weed and rots in this passage is one of doom and death for Hamlet and Denmark.