The phrase “Denmark is a prison” is a representation of Hamlet’s emotional and philosophical state. He is in a state of depression due to his father’s death, and Denmark being physically and mentally constricting, as it is now under Claudius’ rule, who also married his mother. These two factors sum up the meaning of the phrase.
Hamlet’s depression is due to the political situation of Denmark and his personal tragedy. He sees Denmark as a physical and mental prison due to the usurper’s control and the loss of his father and friend. The phrase is a reflection of Hamlet’s internal struggles and beliefs.
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While Denmark is merely a place, Hamlet is emotionally and mentally trapped within it. The phrase is also an indication of Hamlet’s philosophical view of the world. He sees the world as a prison, and Denmark is just a microcosm of it. Hamlet can be seen as a personification of melancholy relativism, a person who sees the world as a hopeless and constricting place.
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