In transitioning eras, a shift in contextual values and attitudes influences the composer's purpose and shaping of textual content within their texts. Shakespeare was heavily influenced by Queen Elizabeth's patronage and approval as she was fearful of the stability of her heirless monarchy and coupled with her conversion to Protestantism, much of the political and religious conflict emerging from the Catholic Elizabethan ideology, shifting into the Renaissance, manifests in the tragic play, Hamlet (1603). The Queen's sentiments and anti-Machiavellian ideals feature in the text, respectful of the Divine Order of the monarch, as deemed from an Elizabethan mindset that God would eventually punish any disruption to the Greater Chain of Being. These notions place Hamlet in a moral dilemma to avenge his father's death, as he must contend with: appearances versus reality, the abuse of women, and his own corruption after learning of his uncle's usurpation. The universal themes and concerns of a transitioning era will extol how Hamlet has enthralled audiences for over four hundred years beyond its original performance. .
Moral and political corruption involving deception, lies and spying generates instability and intrinsic perversion resultant from an abuse of power. In Hamlet, Claudius has disrupted the Greater Chain of Being and subsequently, King Hamlet's Ghost has corrupted Hamlet's Renaissance mindset and morals in demanding he avenge his father's death. .
In accordance to Denmark's laws of succession, Claudius seeks after Gertrude due to her royal blood, corrupting her into a hasty marriage, thereby also corrupting the state. Machiavelli acknowledges that to gain and retain power in this context an essential factor is corruption and Claudius exploits this to feed his hubris by gaining power illegitimately. This is foreshadowed in the opening of the play; "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.