The presentation of Hamlet’s Denmark is first seen in the opening scene of Hamlet where the two guards enter and the first thing that is said is “who is there?” This immediately sets the mood of the whole play and to a certain extent what kind of state Denmark is in which is in a state of high alert, also the darkness and the mystery of who is there sets an ominous tone for the play and also sets an ominous mood for Denmark. It also suggests that the opening scene of Hamlet is set in the dark of night as they are unable to identify one another and so are on edge as to who the other person could be exactly.


Also when Bernardo says “long live the king” it shows that he is loyal to the current king of Denmark and by doing so proves that he is on the side of the other guard. This whilst establishing that both guards on the same side also shows that there could be an enemy and so the audience are able to conclude that currently Denmark is in a state of war. Throughout the whole of Act 1 scene 1 there is stichomythia where both Bernardo and Francisco have alternating lines and also there are blank verses that are broken up when Francisco says “Bernardo?” to which Bernardo replies in the same form of broken up blank verses “He.” By using this dramatic technique it suggests that the lines are spoken rather quickly one after the other which hints that there is some sort of tension between the two guards which is rather strange as they are only changing shifts and again this hints at the possibility that at that time there is some form of military instability in Denmark leaving everyone on edge.

In Act 1 scene 1 when Marcellus and the two sentinels see the ghost for the first time and they see that the ghost looks exactly like the late king hamlet “in the same figure like the king that’s dead.” Despite this they view it as a bad omen that maybe the men should have a military build up in Denmark in response to Fortinbras recruiting an army. Although Fortinbras’s army is supposed to be used against Poland, they fear he may attack Denmark to get revenge for his father’s death, and reclaim the land his father lost to King Hamlet. This is also backed up when they see the ghost in its full armour as the old king used to wear “such was the very armour he had on.” This again shows the risks that impose Denmark and how it is on the brink of war and the fact that the old king hamlet’s armour is discussed suggests that the old king was very much a war like king who was a hero to the people and so Denmark is going from a traditional war like place to a more political and diplomatically Denmark which can be seen when the new king Claudius sends a messenger to the king of Norway rather than confront the army which is being prepared to ensure that the army does not attack Denmark but merely passes through and goes to Poland.

In Act one scene 4 again the ghost is viewed as an omen on the fate of Denmark when Hamlet says to the ghost “Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,” so here it would be that Hamlet is asking the ghost is it an omen fro good health possibly to Denmark or is it a goblin. Then he goes on to say “Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell” this brings about the contrast and again an ominous mystery as to whether the ghost here is to bring gentle breezes or violent blighting gusts.

Also in scene 1 act 4 Marcellus says “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” this could refer to a number of things such as the new king Claudius marrying his bothers wife and becoming king or it would also be hinted at the ghost and it being an omen of bad news. Horatio replies to this “heaven will direct it.” This can be seen as Horatio saying that all that is currently wrong in Denmark in the end heaven will direct it all too good and that the heavens will make everything okay.

In conclusion the presentation of Denmark in Hamlet is very well done as it shows how the influential people of within Denmark affect the country as a whole.