Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. – William Shakespeare Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4. Spoken by Marcellus, as he and Horatio discuss if they will follow Hamlet and the Ghost into the dark night. The line suggests the Ghost is an ominous sign for Denmark. But it also speaks to the larger theme of decay and corruption and moral decay at the heart of Denmark’s throne, created by Claudius’ crime. And it foreshadows the tragic events to come.