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Consider the part the Ghost plays in Act 1 scene 1 of ‘Hamlet’. How does his presence intrigue both the characters and the audience?

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Introduction

English Coursework - Shakespeare Consider the part the Ghost plays in Act 1 scene 1 of 'Hamlet'. How does his presence intrigue both the characters and the audience? 'Hamlet - Prince of Denmark' is a tragedy. The king Hamlet is dead and the new king Claudius is on the throne. He is married to the old king's wife, Gertrude. Hamlet is devastated by the fact that his father is dead and his mother married so soon after her husband's death. Meanwhile, Norway and Denmark are at war. Horatio, Hamlet's best friend sees a ghost of the old king Hamlet and tells Hamlet. Hamlet then goes to watch that night with the guards. He speaks to the ghost and finds out that Claudius murdered his father. The Ghost wants Hamlet to take revenge by killing Claudius. Hamlet plots too see if the Ghost was right by showing a play of the Ghost's death and feigning madness. During the play Claudius does look guilty and Hamlet overhears Claudius confessing to killing the ghost. Ophelia, who likes Hamlet, is driven mad by Hamlets madness and that he keeps telling her different views on how he feels. Hamlet mistakes Polunius, Ophelia's father for Claudius and kills him. Ophelia then kills herself. Claudius arranges for Hamlet to be killed by putting him on a boat and killing him in England. Hamlet foils the plot and escapes back to Denmark. ...read more.

Middle

Horatio is amazed because he didn't believe about the ghost. They discuss who they think it is "Is it not like the king?" but they aren't sure. Drama is made when the Horatio shouts, "Stay! Speak, Speak I charge thee to speak!" The repetition and exclamation create real anxiety. If I was directing the play I would have the whole stage go dark and then the lights come on to reveal a projection of the ghost. Then the ghost would leave with a flash of lightening. If the play was on an Elizabethan play I would have the ghost played by an actor wearing white and he would appear on the balcony. In act 1 scene 2 Hamlet and Horatio have a conversation. Horatio tells Hamlet what he saw on watch last night and Hamlet decides to go on watch with the guards that night. Hamlet deals with the information by being shocked and surprised but very interested. Hamlet is anticipating seeing the ghost. He also asks lots of questions. This creates tension in the play. The guards answered his questions briefly. "Saw you not his face?" "His beard was grizzled no?" By asking short questions there is more tension created. Because Hamlet is anticipating seeing the ghost suspense is also built. The audience would be intrigued by why Hamlet wants to see the ghost so much. Also they may think that the ghost could appear at any minute. ...read more.

Conclusion

After Hamlet is told that Claudius murdered his father and he should murder him Claudius his attitude changes to a more angry and upset mood. This scene would be very dramatic because at any time the ghost could strike and kill Hamlet. The audience would by sympathetic to the ghost but in the same way as Hamlet their mood would change because of the revenge killing. The audience would be more suspicious of the ghost because he is being evil. When the ghost cries from under the stage there would be another change to a more sympathetic approach because the ghost is doomed and he only wants revenge to his death. The ghost has a very important part to play in Act 1 he is the main character and the plot evolves around his actions in the first Act. He makes the audience think questions like is it morally right to kill in revenge killings? And do ghosts exist? Through the ghosts actions Hamlet fakes madness. This leads to lots of things and deaths, which would make the audience think again about weather the ghost exists at all. The ghost may just be Hamlets conscience. Ophelia is driven mad by Hamlet's madness so the ghost affects her. Because Hamlet knows how the ghost died Claudius try's to kill Hamlet and Laertes wants to kill him as well. This act is very intriguing to the audience as at any time the ghost might kill some one. It would be intriguing to know whether Hamlets madness works or whether Hamlet does carry out the revenge killing. John Gilbert ...read more.

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