(May not this imagined scene remind us of the one in which Julius Caesar was assassinated by "a certain convocation of politic[al]" men led by Brutus?
In Hamlet, which is the immediate successor to Julius Caesar—these two have always been companion plays—we learn on Polonius's own avowal that, as a university student, he used to play the role of Julius Caesar in dramatic performances mounted by the university [the University of Wittenberg, Hamlet's alma mater?
As far as dietary business goes, "Your worm" is supposed to hold sovereign sway.
Nevertheless, pace Hamlet "your worm" cannot be said to be the absolute victor in this process.
], the Caesar who he expressly adds is to be killed by Brutus [3.2.98-104].
Julius-Polonius is being assaulted by a party of political man-worms.) The pitiable condition is, however, not solely Polonius's. We fatten ourselves by eating all other living things which we fatten for that purpose, but all this is finally for the ingestion of us as prey by maggots.
In Shakespeare and other Elizabethan playwrights worms do eat dead human bodies.
However, in Hamlet the eating does not stop there; it goes on endlessly, forming something like a vicious circle. The person who initiates this voracious movement finally meets fish-eating men.(In a Russian cinematic version of Hamlet and a Japanese literary work which is a rehashing in a dramatic form of the same play, Ophelia is pregnant.) The ultimate source of conception is traceable to the sun.Conception is far from being a blessing: it entails death that brings about putrefactive cannibalism by mediation of maggots that the sun causes to be bred. —"the sun is a powerful agent of corruption." We recall Hamlet's petulant rejoinder to Claudius: "I am too much i' the sun." (1.2.67).The individual "pass[es] through nature to eternity" (1.2.73) and "the rest is silence" (5.2.358).These memorable phrases from Hamlet sound like a resigned acceptance of the common human condition of death, which makes us realize that the concern of tragedy is coming to terms with death—the final mystery.Hamlet's view uncrowns, being radically democratic; it is a perverse version of the notion that death levels all people. The topic of this "cannibalism feeding on putrefaction" can be best described as "grotesque nonsense." HAMLET: For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion—Have you a daughter? (2.2.181-86) In the cryptic and disjointed discourse that might resemble a passage from a metaphysical poem, the extraordinary force derives from Ophelia's being likened to a dead dog that bears maggots.