Shakespeare on the State of the Union

something is rotten in rhe state of denmark“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
(Hamlet, act 1, sc. 4)

Tips for Use.   Apply to place, company, state, nation or organization where you firmly believe that rot outweighs soundness. Not long ago, he who writes here was plying the waters of the Willamette River at the helm, or rather the paddles of his ecological yacht (read flat-water kayak). On reaching a railway bridge a freight train promptly arrived. For many, watching a train is a vicarious opportunity to remember (or maybe relive) some good times of their early youth. I halted for similar reasons and soon discovered that each car carried a brand new tank on it. I started counting the cars and stopped at 150 as I could no longer maintain the war and imperialism shakespeareaccuracy of the count. Later that day I checked on line how much a tank costs.

Linking to  ( I discovered that “It costs about $65 Million with basic equipment. With extra armor, weapons, and sights a tank can cost up to $120 Million, not counting spare parts.” After verifying the calculations I thought, “Good Heavens, today I saw 18 billion dollars parading in motion in front of me.”
This could be the end of the insignificant story, but I remembered the episode 3 months later in January. A charity-sponsored and free dental clinic had been organized at the Portland Convention Center. Over 1500 people, who could not afford any dental care showed up, several camping overnight on the pavement to secure admission. The total cost of the 2-day clinic, if I remember correctly, was 70 thousand dollars. Or, going back to the train, the cost of the charity clinic was significantly less than 1/10th of 1% of the cost of one tank.

I asked myself where and when will those tanks be used. Then I remembered a statement by president Grover Cleveland, over 100 years ago, “The United States is not a country to which peace is necessary.” And much earlier on Machiavelli advised the Prince that to gain perfect control over the state, he should “keep the people poor and on a wartime footing.” Let the reader decide on the soundness or rottenness of such a state.

All entries on this site are derived from the book “Your Daily Shakespeare”. It contains 1390 pages identifying over 10,000 daily situations. Each situation directs you to one or more Shakespearean repartees, comments, and answers. Repartees, comments, and answers that will get you on the stage or at least out of the water – besides making you a regular winner of verbal contests. “Your Daily Shakespeare” has been described as the most unusual, useful and unique book of Shakespearean quotations. Nothing similar exists or has ever existed.

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In the play. Marcellus’ reaction on seeing the Ghost again. The Ghost is Hamlet’s father, slain by his brother Claudius,  now king of Denmark.

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