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 Something is rotten in the State of Denmark

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Pikochu

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PostSubject: Something is rotten in the State of Denmark   Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:36 pm

This was an essay I wrote for my English class when we were reading Hamlet about a month before G13 came out. I'm following a certain rule when I wrote this, which is, we are seeing the play through one character's set of eyes. Those eyes are Hamlet's, and he did not see every scene in the whole play.

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” says Marcellus, one of the guards employed by Hamlet’s family to protect the castle they live in. When he said this, most people thought he was referring to what the ghost has told Hamlet. That Claudius had murdered the late King Hamlet by pouring a powerful and fast acting poison into his ear as he slept in the garden.
This is a plausible theory, but what if the ghost that Horatio, Marcellus and Bernardo claim to have seen in Act I Scene one never existed to begin with?
In Act I Scene one, Marcellus and Bernardo were on guard of the perimeter of Elsinore, the castle of which Hamlet’s family lives in. Not to long after, Horatio enters and asks them if a certain “thing” has appeared. Later, a benevolent figure, the supposed ghost of the late King Hamlet, appears before the company. This is Horatio’s first time witnessing this, and he is taken aback by the fact that standing before him, is a figure in armor, resembling the features of the previous king.
That is how the events played out in the play. The ghost had appeared before three men, all of which have some ties to Hamlet. The ghost spoke not a word to them, but his message certainly got out. “Bring my son to me. There is something I wish to tell him.”
While this rule may apply mostly to mystery novels or a detective book, an object, person, creature, or event can only exist if the protagonist, in this case Hamlet, and some other character who is important to the plot, be it a supporting role of the protagonist or the antagonist, must have witnessed it at the same time. For example, a tree has fallen in the forest, but only the protagonist was there to witness it. He could both tell the truth and say that the tree had finally become weak enough to collapse on its own, or he could lie and say Bigfoot knocked it over.
So, here is applying this rule to Act I Scene one.
Horatio had just arrived at the gates of Elsinore to sit down with his good buddies, Bernardo and Marcellus. While they are lamenting over the king’s death, they aren’t quite as heartbroken over it as Hamlet was. So, Horatio proposes the idea that they tell him they saw a ghost that resembled the late king. Alternatively, Horatio proposes they prank Hamlet by telling him they saw the ghost of the king.
Later, in Act I Scene five, Hamlet arrives outside the castle walls, alone, where he meets a ghost. That is how things played out in Shakespeare’s words. However, let’s remember that Hamlet is so emotionally distraught right now that he is willing to believe anything good before the act of suicide becomes an option.
So, after Horatio tells him he saw a ghost, Hamlet goes from unstable, to filled with high hopes. That night, Hamlet wanted to believe this ghost existing so badly, that he hallucinated, and a ghost stood before him. Hamlet heard what he wanted to hear based off his suspicions, and later, Horatio and Marcellus joined Hamlet to see if he really bought into their cruel joke.
Astonishingly, he did, which was beyond their expectations. Marcellus, knowing the danger that was just created, uttered his famous quote “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” referring to the trouble Horatio, Bernardo, and he have just created.
From this point forward, we can assume that Hamlet is insane, and is steadily getting worse. Polonius hit the nail on the head, and was later executed in Act III Scene four. In that same scene, although there was light outside, the ghost appears before Hamlet and his mother. This goes completely against what Hamlet was told in Act I Scene five.
“I am thy father’s spirit, doomed for a certain term to walk the night, and for the day confined to fast in fires, till the foul crimes done in my days of nature are burnt and purged away.”
Now stacking against the theory of the ghost existing is as follows: Hamlet is yet to see it at the same time as somebody else important to the plot, the ghost has appeared before Hamlet in broad daylight despite saying he can only appear at night and his mother, although in the same room as Hamlet and the apparition, does not see it.
His mother, now absolutely sure her son has gone mad with despair, tells Claudius the murder that has just happened. Claudius decides it’s time to send Hamlet to England, where he shall be executed.
However, along the way there, Hamlet’s boat is attacked by pirates, and Hamlet is sent back to Denmark. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz continue to England, with a letter written by Hamlet for their execution.
We can say that the remainder of the plot of Hamlet carries out from here. Hamlet and Laertes grieve over Ophelia, they duel, they poison each other, the queen dies from poisoned wine, Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned rapier and has him drink the poisoned wine, he, Laertes, and Hamlet die, Fortinbras enters after all the action is done to find Horatio still alive, and claims his throne.
Something else here seems rotten. Horatio is the only person still alive and completely unscathed. As if he knew he wasn’t going to get hurt.
Adding onto this No Ghost theory, Horatio is in league with Fortinbras and knows that he will be the only one left alive as told to him by the Weïrd Sisters.
And yes, the three witches from Macbeth certainly existed. Macbeth and Banquo saw them at the same time in the same place, as they stood next to each other. Unfortunately, there is no Macduff-like character in the tragedy, Hamlet, and therefore, Horatio is not killed. Maybe Marcellus, but he never appears again after Act I Scene five. He probably died of old age, or dysentery, whichever seems more fitting for this time.
After Fortinbras took the throne and gave Hamlet his funeral, he and Horatio began to become close friends, as the witches predicted. And, every Tuesday, they went bowling together.
So, as Marcellus had stated, “There is something rotten in the state of Denmark,” and its name is Horatio.
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Akayame

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PostSubject: Re: Something is rotten in the State of Denmark   Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:53 am

every tuesday huh? i'm starting to see a correlation between shakespear's plays and charlie sheens life...
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