Significance of the Ghost to William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

Significance of the Ghost to William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

Length: 1576 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Significance of the Ghost to William Shakespeare's Hamlet


In Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', the ghost plays a key role in influencing
the destinies of the other characters. The ghost is important to the
play as it symbolizes both fate and catalyses the plot. It also brings
the play into the revenge tragedy genre, which allows foreshadowing to
occur and helps the audience, both Elizabethan and contemporary to
better understand the play and appreciate it. The late King Hamlet is
forced to roam the earth as he was murdered before he could confess to
his sins, having to remain in purgatory till his sins are washed from
him and he is able to enter into heaven. Hamlet, the tragic hero of
the play, and is influenced by the encounter with whom he believes to
be his late father, the ghost. Hamlet was both horror-struck and
mortified to hear of his father's betrayal. He immediately felt that
he must avenge his father and this reveals the role of the ghost, who
is able to affect the protagonist.

Hamlet is instructed to punish Claudius, the late King Hamlet's
brother and murderer. The ghost reveals that Claudius, by killing his
own brother, has committed a, "murder most foul," and deserves to die.

Written during the first part of the seventeenth century, the tragic
endings of revenge plays were pre-ordained by the church and state
expectations. Revenge was deemed acceptable only if the avenger died
at the end of the play. Only by dying could someone be forgiven for
the immoral and illegal act of revenge. Hamlet is placed in this
situation by the ghost, who orders him to act against his conscience,
and the diametrically opposed commands paralyze hi...


... middle of paper ...


... that the
ghost is simply a convention of Elizabethan drama, but although the
ghost motif had been used in many dramas of the period, none appeared
so ambiguous as the ghost of King Hamlet. This essay illustrates that
here may be many interpretations of the ghost, and that these
different aspects may affect our understanding of the play. The dual
nature of the ghost is reflective of the dual nature of man. The
ghost's ambiguities are essential in heightening the tragic element of
the play. In embracing the ghost, Hamlet embraces both good and evil.

Bibliography

www.vccslitonline.cc.va.us/HamletForum/_hamletforum/000002e8.htm

www.clicknotes.com/hamlet/Ghost.html

www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/2000/June/hamlet.html

www.hf.ntnu.no/engelsk/shakespeare/ham.htm

www.findfreeessays.com/show_essay/4873.html

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Significance of Religion in Hamlet Essay

- Summary -The tragedy of Hamlet is one of the most important of Shakespeare’s plays and one that is published and performed as part of the rainbow of world literature. This paper investigates the role of religion for the characters and their actions, and presents a new interpretation using religion to understand the characters’ motives. The paper concludes that although Christianity is the main influence on Hamlet, Shakespeare also used Grecian religious symbols. Hamlet suffered from a psychological shock, then re-evaluated the events around him in light of his religious views....   [tags: Hamlet Essays]

Powerful Essays
2827 words (8.1 pages)

The Ghost in Kenneth Brannagh's Hamlet Essay

- The Ghost in Kenneth Brannagh's Hamlet William Shakespeare's Hamlet is a drama which has been renound for its content and depiction of characters. Over the years, it has gone through many variations of interpretations and criticisms. One such criticism is the nature of the ghost who takes the form of Hamlet's dead father. At first glance, it may be sufficient to accept the ghost as the spirit of Hamlet's dead father who returns to the land of the living in order to have his son avenge his murder....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]

Powerful Essays
1514 words (4.3 pages)

Hamlet's Anger and Morality in William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- Hamlet's Anger and Morality in William Shakespeare's Hamlet In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet is faced with emotional and physical hardship. The suffering that he endures causes his character to develop certain idiosyncrasies. Morality has a significant importance to Hamlet. At the beginning of the play, Hamlet possesses a strong sense of morality. A sense that is stronger than all other characters. Hamlet's actions and feelings are controlled by his morality. His morality grows weaker as the play progresses....   [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays Papers]

Powerful Essays
1538 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on The Significance of the Players in Hamlet

- The Significance of the Players in Hamlet      Most characters in Hamlet present themselves as something other than themselves or how as we, the audience, or another character thinks they should appear.  Two of the main characters in this play, Hamlet and King Claudius, are constantly acting as something other than their true nature.    Ironically, the characters that invoke changes in Hamlet and King Claudius to reveal their real personalities are the players, merely actors themselves, not showing true emotion: (in this short analysis, I will attempt to display the truth revealed by the players) they agitate King Claudius and allow Hamlet to see their appearance as more accurate to the t...   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]

Powerful Essays
909 words (2.6 pages)

An Analytical Essay on the Significance of the Players in Hamlet

- An Analytical Essay on the Significance of the Players in Hamlet     The significance of the players exceeds the sole purpose of entertainment, as each possesses the power to unveil the "occulted guilt" (3.2.75) and conscience of the King.  Hamlet assumes the responsibility to advise these players with precise and adequate direction so that a "whirlwind of passion" (6) may not effectively separate Claudius from personally identifying with the play.  Hamlet's enthusiastic approach toward direction may be so that he encourages the players to "suit the action to the word, the word to the/ action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not/ the modesty of nature" (16-18).  However, t...   [tags: The Tragedy of Hamlet Essays]

Free Essays
648 words (1.9 pages)

Topics Deeply Hidden in Hamlet by Williams Shakespeare Essay

- There are many topics deeply hidden in the works of William Shakespeare. One of his greatest pieces of works is the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Not only are the words of Shakespeare meaningful, but there are also many follow up pieces of literature that contain important interpretations of the events in this play. These works about Hamlet are extremely beneficial to the reader. I have found four of these works and will use them as sources throughout this essay. The first source is “The Case of Hamlet’s Conscience,” by Catherine Belsey, and it focuses on the topic of Hamlet’s revenge in the play....   [tags: foils to hamlet, hamlet´s conscience]

Powerful Essays
2200 words (6.3 pages)

The Significance of Soliloquiest to William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- The Significance of Soliloquiest to William Shakespeare's Hamlet In this essay I will consider the significance of the soliloquies in Shakespeare's Hamlet. When Shakespeare wrote his plays he intended to make them entertaining for the era of his time, which was of course the Elizabethan era. At this time there was no technology available, and going to the theatre was the only real form of entertainment that was offered to the people. To ensure that the plays were enjoyable, Shakespeare had to include aspects that were relevant to the people, so that they could relate to what was happening....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
2417 words (6.9 pages)

Essay The Dramatic Significance in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

- The Dramatic Significance in William Shakespeare's Hamlet Ans. Hamlet is the most complex but also the most entertaining of all Shakespeare's plays. It deals with the central character Hamlet a young man who is of an intellectual thoughtful and philosophical nature. The play is about how this young man is asked to do an action that is beyond him. The ghost of his beloved father appears to him and enjoins him the sacred task of avenging his murder. This is an action that the morally good Hamlet finds difficult to do....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1884 words (5.4 pages)

Laertes and the Ghost as Foils in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- Laertes and the Ghost as Foils in Hamlet The play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, could be considered as a modern day soap opera. It contains everything from murder to betrayal and a lot of drama. Each character appears to be going through some sort of problem in the play. Of all the characters, Hamlet has the most hardships. In order to show why Hamlet makes the choices he does, who he is, and what he is about, Shakespeare creates Laertes and the ghost as foils for Hamlet. The foils allow the reader to gain a much more profound understanding of Hamlet....   [tags: Free GCSE Coursework]

Free Essays
858 words (2.5 pages)

Hamlet and His Home Essay examples

- Hamlet and His Home Hamlet begins at the open mouth of the Void. Barnardo and Francisco call out to each other and into darkness; they stand atop a guard platform that is naked to the open air and to the night. Every character's entrance is marked by a series of interrogatives, as characters already on stage try to ascertain the identity of those who are newly arrived and yet unseen. Darkness isolates these men from each other as they stand on the edge of civilization, the place where the solid stones of Elsinore castle open up into the world of night and the supernatural....   [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]

Powerful Essays
2833 words (8.1 pages)