An Analytical Essay on Hamlet as Ghost Story, Detective Story and Revenge Story

  • Length: 693 words (2 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

An Analytical Essay on Hamlet as Ghost Story, Detective Story and Revenge Story


William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, is a ghost story, a detective story and a revenge story all within one plot. Throughout the play, qualities of all three types of stories are displayed. The ghost story consists of Hamlet Senior and the circumstances surrounding his untimely demise at the hands of the present King, Claudius. He is being tortured in hell until his death is properly avenged. The detective aspect of Hamlet is brought about by Hamlet trying to figure out whether or not his fathers ghost was real and also to what, if any extent, his mother the "virtuous" Queen Gertrude was involved with the murder of his Father. Both Hamlet and Laertes, bring yet another aspect to this most versatile play, by seeking revenge for their fathers death, each in their own way. By viewing the play as either one or all of these different aspects we learn to have different perspectives on the play.                                                                     

The story of Hamlet Senior's death is the ghost story aspect of the play. Hamlet Senior, the late king, was being tormented in hell throughout the daylight hours and during the night he was forced to walk the castle. He stated that he was "Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night, And for the day confin'd to fast in fires, Till the foul crimes done in my [being the late King's] days of nature Are burnt and purg'd away (50 lines 10-13). His release from this torture would not be permitted until his avenger is retaliated against by his son. Hamlet, Francisco and Bernardo all see the ghost of the late king, but the apparition will only speak to his son. The ghost brings an unnatural feel to the drama and leaves the reader/viewer wondering if it was real or all in Hamlet's mind.             


Hamlet is made to do some detective work in this melodrama. His first order of business was to figure out if the ghost of his father that he thought he saw, was in fact real and if it was, was it unfeigned or a demon. Then, he must decide if the ghost of his father was truthful about Claudius, his father's brother, Hamlet's uncle who was also the reigning King, committing fratricide against his father. To find evidence of Claudius' involvement, Hamlet uses the players, to bring about his uncles deep seated feelings hopefully lodged in his conscience.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"An Analytical Essay on Hamlet as Ghost Story, Detective Story and Revenge Story." 23 Jun 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is one of William Shakespeare’s most renowned works of literature. Published in the very early sixteenth century, the play remains to be the longest of all Shakespearean works and the most popular as well. Perhaps what is so appealing about this masterpiece, the tragic story of the death of King Hamlet, murdered by Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, who later marries Queen Gertrude in order to take the throne, and Prince Hamlet’s journey to exact revenge on Claudius for all he’s done to the kingdom, is the fact that revenge plays a rather large role throughout the play, being what motivates Hamlet to pretend insanity in order to succeed....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Revenge]
:: 4 Works Cited
1551 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
There is No Ghost in Hamlet Essay - 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)
Better Essays [preview]
The Meaning of the Ghost in Hamlet by Shakespeare Essay - 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)
Better Essays [preview]
The Theme of Revenge in Hamlet Essay - Hamlet is a play based on revenge. Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, marries Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle after killing his brother. Hamlet discovers that his uncle had killed his father when his father visits as a ghost and secretly tells Hamlet what had happened. Hamlet’s pretend craziness and rejection of love towards Ophelia drives her mad and results in the death of the both of them. In the end, the outcome is that everyone but two dies, Horatio and Fortinbras. The statement an eye for an eye is often used in everyday life but is overly expressed in Hamlet....   [tags: revenge, hamlet, shakespeare, ] 408 words
(1.2 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Illinois Ghost Stories Essay - Ever have a ghostly experience with something or someone that has not crossed over yet. To most people’s shock, most celebrities have experienced a ghost encounter in their life. Some believe in ghosts and others do not. Some even captured photographs of them and do not even know it until further investigation of it when they found unexplainable things in them. A lot of people in Illinois have experienced ghosts and have told stories about them, for example, the story of old A. Bookbinder of the Bartonville insane asylum or the St....   [tags: ghost, past, present, encounter] 1978 words
(5.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Shakespeare's Hamlet - A Clear Revenge Tragedy? Essay - Hamlet – a Revenge Tragedy?        Most of the revenge-tragic aspect of the Shakespearean play Hamlet is explicitly presented. Some is disguised as straight tragedy, for example, Ophelia’s insanity and death; and some is implied tragedy found in the history of verbal allusions.   In the essay “An Explication of the Player’s Speech,” Harry Levin discusses the implied tragic dimension of the “Hecuba” soliloquy:   But the lyrical note can prevail no more than the epical, since Shakespeare’s form is basically tragic; and here his classical model is indicated when Polonius, introducing the Players, warns: “Seneca cannot be too heavy.” From “English Seneca read by candlelight,” according...   [tags: Revenge Vengeance]
:: 11 Works Cited
1970 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Revenge in Hamlet and The Revenger's Tragedy Essay -     In this study of revenge and revengers in two Elizabethan revenge tragedies the two plays I shall look at are Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, and The Revenger's Tragedy, by Thomas Middleton. I shall look first at the playwrights' handling of the characters of the revengers, and then at the treatment of the revengers by other characters in the plays. Although having similarities in their underlying themes, and in their adherence to conventions, these two plays present contrasting pictures of the figure of the revenger; Hamlet offering a far more complex treatment of its main character, and The Revenger's Tragedy appearing, in comparison, limited by the author's social message, and lacking...   [tags: Elizabethan Revenge Tragedies]
:: 7 Works Cited
3225 words
(9.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Revenge and Vengeance in Shakespeare's Hamlet -      Speculation about whether the Shakespearean drama Hamlet satisfies the requirements of an Elizabethan revenge tragedy is discussed in this paper, with considerable critical commentary. Richard A. Lanham in “Superposed Plays” comments on the lesser revenge tragedy within the greater revenge tragedy of Hamlet: Now there is no doubt about how to read the Laertes play: straight revenge tragedy, to be taken – as I’ve tried to imply in my summary – without solemnity. We are to enjoy the rants as rants....   [tags: Hamlet, The Revenge Tragedy]
:: 11 Works Cited
1908 words
(5.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Delay in Hamlet’s Revenge Essay example - The Delay in Hamlet’s Revenge         Hamlet's first thoughts after learning of his father's murder are of an immediate, violent revenge upon Claudius. However, his subsequent actions do not live up to these resolutions. Over four acts he takes little deliberate action against his uncle, although the ghost explicitly demands a swift revenge. In S. T. Coleridge's words, Hamlet's central weakness is that he is "continually resolving to do, yet doing nothing but resolve". Hamlet's first soliloquy, following a hostile conversation with Claudius and Gertrude, shows him grief-stricken, bitter and despairing....   [tags: Revenge and Vengeance in Hamlet]
:: 12 Works Cited
3066 words
(8.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Hamlet and Revenge Essay example - Hamlet And Revenge Revenge has caused the downfall of many a person. Its consuming nature causes one to act recklessly through anger rather than reason. Revenge is an emotion easily rationalized; one turn deserves another. However, this is a very dangerous theory to live by. Throughout Hamlet, revenge is a dominant theme. Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet all seek to avenge the deaths of their fathers. But in so doing, all three rely more on emotion than thought, and take a very big gamble, a gamble which eventually leads to the downfall and death of all but one of them....   [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Revenge Essays] 985 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches

In reading the play it is unclear as to what extent Claudius is affected by the play that is within the play. It is stated by Ophelia that "The King rises" (94, 250), which does not fully admit his guilt after hearing the plot of the play by the characters revealed to him by Hamlet.. Queen Gertrude's involvement with the late king's murder is also a problem to which Hamlet must get to the bottom of. According to the ghost of his father it was unclear to him whether she was involved or not. Hamlet had trouble finding out whether or not she was involved.                                         


The theme of revenge is demonstrated throughout the entire play and it acts as an integral character. Revenge is seen as a motive for many effects. Hamlet seeks revenge on Claudius to avenge his father's death. Gertrude is targeted by Hamlet for marrying Claudius too soon after the death of her husband and also for her involvement in his murder. Hamlet's long time friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are sought after by him also, for attempting to carry out Claudius' orders to kill him. Lastly Laertes pursues Hamlet to avenge his father, Polonius' death.  The play Hamlet being three different kinds of stories in one, proves to make an interesting and constantly turning plot. The ghost story gives the play an unnatural feel and leaves the reader guessing as to what Hamlet saw if anything. The detective aspect of the play extremely suspenseful and also makes the reader wonder what is going to happen next. The revenge theme, is one that affirms the readers suspicions about who the true murders was and how his death was avenged.        

Return to