• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Ghost in Hamlet

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Ghost The Ghost is an essential element to the plot of Hamlet, revealing the true cause of the King's death and establishing the need for revenge as well as confronting Hamlet with a moral dilemma, and is used by Shakespeare to open up several ideas and questions in the play. Shakespeare employs an ambiguous theme throughout the play using an antithesis of ideas which cause suspense, confusion and elusiveness. The complexity of the Ghost's character allows Shakespeare to introduce many views into the play, which can be seen through both the actions of the Ghost as well as the effect it has on Hamlet himself. Hamlet is presented with several different ideas in the play, one of them being the true purpose for revenge. There is evidence in the Ghost's emergence in Act 1 Scene 5 to suggest that he is less outraged at his own murder then he is at Gertrude's lust, for example the majority of the Ghost's speech is about the "incestuous" relationship between Gertrude and Claudius. The relationship between Gertrude and Claudius is described by the Ghost as "shameful" and it is emotive word choices such as this which Shakespeare uses to convey to the audience the impact that their relationship has had on the Ghost. Another antithesis displayed by Shakespeare is of the characters Claudius and the Ghost. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, the vivid images of the Ghost's murder can be seen as a tool used by the Ghost to persuade Hamlet to take revenge, covering up his main motive to kill Claudius for marrying Gertrude, which is an act that Hamlet may be less willing to take revenge for. Hamlet's immediate reaction to the Ghost's speech may clarify what has affected the Ghost more, as he describes his mother as a "most pernicious woman!" before referring to his uncle as a "smiling damned villain", implying that he is appalled views his mother's lust as a more awful crime than his father's murder. The Ghost orders Hamlet to "revenge his foul and most unnatural murder", immediately placing Hamlet with an enormous responsibility which is reiterated again in Act 3 Scene 4 when the Ghost reminds Hamlet that "this visitation Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose". The sheer fact that the Ghost arrives in the play is evidence of Hamlet placed in a position where he must take action upon his given responsibility. This absolute compulsion upon Hamlet is highlighted when Hamlet accepts that it is his duty, vows to disregard everything but the "commandment alone" and promises to "sweep to his revenge". The use of the word commandment introduces Hamlet's moral dilemma, as he feels obliged to carry out his father's desires for revenge. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yes, from the table of my memory... Unmixed with baser matter: yes, by heaven!". Shakespeare also uses the external appearance of the Ghost to emphasise this uncertainty, as it is described by Hamlet as having a "questionable shape". Again Shakespeare employs the theme of dualism when Hamlet questions the Ghost, asking if it "brings with it the airs heaven or blasts from hell" and whether its intentions are "wicked or charitable". By starting with a prayer as soon as Hamlet sees the Ghost, Shakespeare portrays a fearful and apprehensive character. Hamlet acknowledges that the Ghost may be a "devil" who "abuses to damn" him. Shakespeare reinforces Hamlet's moral dilemma in his decision to carry out the play, from which he hopes to "catch the conscience of the king". Postponing the revenge until he has confirmed that Claudius is in fact the murderer of his father also proves that Hamlet has doubts about the Ghost and its intentions. When considering the Ghost in the play as a whole, it is reasonable to take the view of the Ghost as not being Old Hamlet, but in fact a "goblin damned" due to the disastrous effects it has brought on Hamlet's life, as well as other characters in the play, including the conflict and deaths of several characters. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hassana Afzal ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    has to ask pardon for its bad manners. Hamlet tells his mother to confess herself to heaven and to repent, and not to have sex with the king. "Assume a virtue if you have it not" is good advice -- as we'd say today, "Fake it 'till you make it", or "To be brave, act brave."

  2. How does Shakespeare use language to describe Claudius as a villain?

    Claudius' evolution into the consummate villain is complete. In act 4 scene 5 Claudius showed that he has consistently orchestrated emotions and has convincingly played the role of concerned King, friend of Polonius, kindly father figure for Ophelia, and dutiful husband to Gertrude.

  1. Hamlet’s dilemma.

    "The spirit that I have seen / May be a devil, and the devil hath power / T' assume a pleasing shape." This shows that even with substantial evidence, Hamlet's mind is not content and the next time he appears in the play, which is long after the Ghost's visit,

  2. How Does Shakespeare Present the Ghost and its Role in

    Now we are faced with the problem of religious and political thinking of the time. The genre of the play is revenge that was popular in the late 1 sixteenth century but private revenge was unlawful according to the Church and the State.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work