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In
Hamlet’s first soliloquy, he explains how peculiar the situation in Denmark has
become. “How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses
of this world Fie on’t! Ah fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed;
things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely.” (Act1,scene2) Hamlet speaks
of a garden that was once beautiful that has been turned wild, and is now overgrown
with weeds.

Later
on during the same speech, Hamlet continues saying “Frailty, thy name is
woman!—A little month, or ere those shoes were old/With which she followed my
poor father’s body, Like Niobe, all tears. Why she, even she—O God, a beast
that wants discourse of reason Would have mourned longer!—married with my
uncle, My father’s brother, but no more like my father Than I to Hercules.
Within a month, Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the
flushing in her gallèd eyes, She married. O most wicked speed, to post with
such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” Hamlet used an allusion from the
Greek myth of Niobe, who lost her 14 children and husband. This he compares to
his own mother. Hamlet says that even an animal would have mourned longer for
the loss of their mate than Gertrude did for Hamlet’s father. Hamlet argues
that the swiftness of her new marriage was wicked. He even goes as far as to
say that Gertrude and Claudius’ marriage bed was “incestuous sheets.”
This shows a decay in morality and corruption in values.

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The graveyard scene connects corruption
and rot. Before answering Hamlet’s
question, Ophelia’s gravedigger says, “if he be not rotten before he be
laid in, as we have many pocky
cores” (act5,scene1). The gravedigger is saying that rottenness is
not only the natural process of decay; it is a matter
of morals. One can be corrupt in life, and rot faster when buried than
an uncorrupted body does. The gravedigger is
showing a dark sense of humor here rather than being literal. Rotting in the grave is natural; unnatural acts in
life refute a body real rot. A person’s position in life is related to
how long it takes to rot—this is shown by the
gravedigger’s joke, saying that “a tanner will last you eight full out, or
nine” (act5,scene1).

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