When Hamlet says, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” he means that the king is corrupt. He is not making any comment on the political life of ordinary Danish citizens, for there were no citizens and no political life outside the court at Elsinore. Today, we all know that something is rotten in our own state, but it isn’t enough to point to the White House or to Richard Nixon and his entourage. The malaise seems more general. After all, this is a republic; our pol...
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