Hamlet - Ghost

This essay has a total of 999 words and 5 pages.

Hamlet - Ghost


Hamlet - Ghost

The presence of the apparition in the opening scene of William Shakespeare's
Hamlet sets a macabre and eerie tone while emitting and foreshadowing a
theme of death. In addition to the death theme the presence of the ghost
illuminates on the mystery surrounding the death of Hamlet's father, the King of Denmark.
Often in literature the presence of a ghost indicates something left unresolved. In this
case, the death of Hamlets father is the unresolved event as well the revenge necessary to
give the tormented soul repose. The ghost created mystery for the audience, spawns the
chain of death and treachery in Denmark, causes characters to question the death of their
former king, and

makes the metaphysics of the play dark. The ghost says nothing despite the valiant efforts
on the parts of Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo. Suspense is created when the audience is
ignorant as to the purpose of the ghost. Later in the play the ghost is utilized to allow
Hamlet and the audience knowledge of the vile murder of the king by Claudius, the kings
own brother. When the ghost finally speaks, he tells Hamlet,

'Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.';(I.v.25-28)
These quotes let Hamlet as well as the audience know that the fathers death
was foul and unnatural contrary to popular belief. The spirit then reveals the
murder to Hamlet by professing this:
'A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.(I.v.35-39)
This statement not only reveals the culprit; it eludes to the manner in which the king was
assassinated. Upon hearing this Hamlet and the audience realize who the murderer is and
how the plot of vengeance will unfold. Without the

apparition the beginning of the play would lack the supernatural and eerie aura
as well as the revelation of most wretched crime thus making the play bland and
meaningless.
Although the ghost is apparently Hamlet's father those who saw him were
fearful. The reason behind this is that in the sixteenth century a ghost could be a demon
trying to deceive Hamlet rather than the soul of his murdered father.

'The papists in former times have publicly both taught and written that
those spirits which men sometimes see and hear be either good or bad
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