Many Shakespeare plays contain ghosts, perhaps most notably and most disturbingly in Macbeth and Hamlet. The ghost in Hamlet is the apparition of prince Hamlet's father, the dead King Hamlet. However, up until the time when the ghost first appears to Hamlet, interrupting his speech and thoughts, it appears Hamlet is unaware that his father was murdered. As the ghost intones, "I am thy father's spirit, / Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, / And for the day confined to fast in fires, / Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature / Are burnt and purged away" (Shakespeare I.v.9-13). While more people in Shakespeare's audience were inclined to believe in the supernatural and fantastic, it is likely the appearance of the slain King still has quite an impact on modern audiences. This is because the ghost of King Hamlet tells his son he was murdered and his murder must be avenged for him to rest in peace.
We see that the ghost is a driving force for Hamlet on his way to conscious maturity. There is something rotten in the State of Denmark but the something rotten exists in all places and in all people. Anyone with intellect and a conscience would not tolerate it, as Hamlet does not by willfully going into a battle at the end of the play wherein he knows he will be killed. Further, the ghost is just one more thing Hamlet must escape on the way to his mature self. As Harold Bloom, noted Shakespearian critic, notes about this sea-change in Hamlet's character and its relation to the ghost, "In Act V, Hamlet is barely still in the play; like Whitman's 'real me' or 'me myself' the final Hamlet is both in and out of the game while watching and wondering at it. We feel that if the Ghos...
... middle of paper ...
... "Why, what should be the fear? / I do not set my life in a pin's fee; / And for my soul, what can it do to that, / Being a thing immortal as itself? / It waves me forth again: I'll follow it" (Shakespeare I.iv.151-55). Hamlet will indeed follow the Ghost and it will cost him his life, but he retains his soul because he is of the constitution that cannot tolerate something "rotten" in Denmark or mankind. Thus, we see that the Ghost creates a tremendous impact on audiences because of its great emotional significance in the play and in setting off the wheels of motion that seal Hamlet's tragic fate.
Anonymous. The Ghost of Hamlet's Father. Available:
Bloom, H. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York; Riverhead Books, 1998.
Shakespeare, W. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. New York, Oxford Univ. Press, 1978.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Ghost of King Hamlet Many Shakespeare plays contain ghosts, perhaps most notably and most disturbingly in Macbeth and Hamlet. The ghost in Hamlet is the apparition of prince Hamlet's father, the dead King Hamlet. However, up until the time when the ghost first appears to Hamlet, interrupting his speech and thoughts, it appears Hamlet is unaware that his father was murdered. As the ghost intones, "I am thy father's spirit, / Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, / And for the day confined to fast in fires, / Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature / Are burnt and purged away" (Shakespeare I.v.9-13). While more people in Shakespeare's audience were inclined to beli... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
1299 words (3.7 pages)
- Many characters and people even with very few appearances or interactions with others can leave a lasting effect on someone or can impact the overall mood and message of a body of work. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, King Hamlet’s ghost or afterlife form makes a few appearances through the course of the tragedy but leaves a persisting effect that weighs heavily on the decisions and actions of Prince Hamlet that result in further deaths, adds depth and establishes the theme of revenge, and overall assists in the development of Prince Hamlet’s character as a person.... [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Ghost, Gertrude]
1164 words (3.3 pages)
- In discussions pertaining to the nature of Hamlet’s ghost, there is much debate. On the one hand, authors such as W.W. Greg believe that Hamlet’s ghost was merely a hallucination, but on the other hand, Maurice Egan believes that Hamlet’s ghost was a real character who truly existed. Egan also contends that the ghost is sent from purgatory, however, authors such as Roy Battenhouse believe that the ghost is pagan and came from hell. Others such as Robert West maintain that the ghost is neither from heaven or hell, but was written to be purposefully confusing so that any audience member could think of the ghost in many different ways.... [tags: Shakespeare, character analysis]
2020 words (5.8 pages)
- Hamlet, though published hundreds of years ago, is one of the most studied texts in history and continues to offer scholars new details of interest to explore, one of which being different types of kings portrayed in this play: Old King Hamlet, a beloved ruler who earned reputation for the state of Denmark, Claudius, a treacherous usurper under whose rule Denmark became rotten, and Fortinbras, a foreign prince and the king- to- be. As a tragic hero, Hamlet is always being criticized for the deficiency in his character, but few have recognized him as the rightful heir to the throne withwho has the strength and potential to rule a country.... [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Ghost, Prince Hamlet]
1400 words (4 pages)
- Shakespeare fancies the application of ghosts in his plays, Hamlet is no exception. Scholars argue that the ghost in Hamlet is only a figment of Hamlet’s imagination, but how does that explain others witnessing the apparition. Hamlet’s mental state is declining throughout the play, but what is the true cause. From an external view Hamlet appears insane, whether or not he is insane is left ambiguous. If he is insane, is the traumatic loss of his father causing Hamlet to see a ghost or is the ghost real indeed.... [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare, ghost]
752 words (2.1 pages)
- How strange or odd soe 'er I bear myself/ As I perchance hereafter shall think meet/ To put an antic disposition on,/ That you, at such times seeing me, never shall—/ With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,/ Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,/ As “Well, well, we know,” or “We could an if we would,”/ Or “If we list to speak,” or “There be an if they might,”/ Or such ambiguous giving out—to note/ That you know aught of me. This not to do,/ So grace and mercy at your most need help you,/ Swear.... [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Ghost]
1017 words (2.9 pages)
- In traditional and modern, ghost reflects death and fear, and it never change. In Hamlet, the ghost is a symbol of Hamlet’s father who is killed by Claudius. Its propose is to demand Hamlet to avenge its death. Although the ghost only appears three times in front of Hamlet, it is a specify role to develop the whole story and plot. Through Hamlet, the ghost is the motive to make Hamlet kill Claudius, and the ghost plays a critical role to influence Hamlet. In the act 1, sense 1, the appearance of ghost implicated that something would be happening in Denmark and created interest and caution to audience and Horatio.... [tags: ghost, death, fear, motive]
661 words (1.9 pages)
- The Lion King and Hamlet. In one film it is “to be or not to be” and the other is “to hunt or to be hunted”. At the surface these two seem to have nothing in common, but when one digs deep he/she can see how similar they are. Yet with all their similarities a few of their characters are written differently. Was it really bad for Claudius to be king. Was Hamlet’s Crusade as justifiable as Simba’s. Was Hamlets plot a reverse of The Lion King. Was their circle of life corrupt from the beginning and was Claudius Mufasa.... [tags: The Lion King, Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet]
918 words (2.6 pages)
- The Ghost’s Deception in Hamlet The Ghost in Hamlet cleared out the event that Hamlet was uncertain of. The spirit clarified the death of King Hamlet, and caused Hamlet to perform his evil deeds. The Ghost’s request to avenge him caused the death of Hamlet’s family, friends, and eventually himself; therefore, the spirit can be viewed as evil because it failed the four tests that was set by Lewes Lavater and the Church. Lewes Lavater describes how the church determines if a ghost is evil or good.... [tags: William Shakespeare Evil Ghost Deceit]
1605 words (4.6 pages)
- The Ghost in Hamlet In the Shakespearean time period people believed in ghosts and reported them, so it makes sense that Shakespeare would write about a ghost appearing in the play. There is plenty of evidence in the play to prove that the ghost is real. In the first act the ghost appears to two soldiers Marcellus, and Barnardo, as well as to Hamlet’s friend Horatio, who is a very credible and intelligent person. The same ghost appeared to Hamlet several times through out the play also. These facts eliminate the chance of this ghost being a figment of people’s imagination because too many people saw the same thing.... [tags: The Tragedy of Hamlet]
460 words (1.3 pages)