Shakespeare's Famous Quote
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, this line is spoken by Marcellus in Act I, scene IV, as he and Horatio debate whether or not to follow Hamlet and the ghost into the dark night while they stand guard at Elsinore Castle in Denmark.The spirit beckons Hamlet offstage, and the frenzied prince follows after, ordering the witnesses to stay put. They quickly decide to tag along anyway—it's not "fit" to obey someone who is in such a desperate state. In this confused exchange, Marcellus's famous non sequitur sustains the foreboding mood of the disjointed and mysterious action. And it reinforces the point and tone of some of Hamlet's earlier remarks—for example, that Denmark is "an unweeded garden" of "things rank and gross in nature" (Act 1, scene 2). When his father's ghost tells him his chilling tale in scene 5, the prince will realize just how rotten things really are in Denmark.The ghost is a visible symbol of the rottenness of Denmark created by Claudius’s crime.