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

Consider the significance and importance of the Ghost to the play, to the other characters and to the audience, both contemporary and Elizabethan.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

AS Level Shakespeare Module Assessment Task 1) Consider the significance and importance of the Ghost to the play, to the other characters and to the audience, both contemporary and Elizabethan. 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. ...read more.

Middle

However the window of truth has been opened and before long the main battle of the play is revealed," O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain," showing his attitude towards Claudius and Hamlet's need to avenge his murdered father. We should also remember that for religious reasons, Elizabethan audiences did believe in ghost's, so for Shakespeare to use this device allows for the audience at that time to associate with the characters, by superstition. The first appearance of the ghost coincides with and acquaints the readers with the military preparations which Denmark is taking against young Fortinbras of Norway. This play is, to a large extent, concerned with the theme of revenge, but the motive of revenge is provided by the ghost. The effect of the late king's speech is unsettling to Hamlet and the audience, both contemporary and Elizabethan. When the ghost repeats the word 'Swear', it has no bearing on plot, but it is the only word it says that all characters can hear and therefore gives the line an eeriness that all can feel. Horatio remarks "O day and night, but this is wondrous strange", reflecting the feelings aroused by the supernatural being. ...read more.

Conclusion

The nature of the ghost also affects any opinion that may be held of Gertrude. She may be seen as evil, but she may also be seen as a weak and stupid woman. The ghost may appear to show mercy to Gertrude, but he envisions her ,"pricked and stung by thorns". So what is the significance of the use of the ghost motif in Hamlet? The ghost has often been dismissed as a stage thrill, a device to horrify, yet secure the attentions of the audience. This essay has demonstrated that this argument will not suffice. Obviously the ghost is used to convey the information about Claudius to Hamlet, however this could have been done in a different way, without the need for supernatural intervention. Of course, there is the argument 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. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    'The ghost is a useful dramatic device but for a modern audience its effect ...

    4 star(s)

    tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood'. The ghost's inability to detail his surroundings emphasises the way in which purgatory was perceived, too horrifying to even describe. A modern audience would not have as strong an understanding of purgatory and its implications, they

  2. Ophelia Essay

    Why is Polonious preventing Ophelia from courting Hamlet? Is it because he knows Hamlet is lying about his love for Ophelia and will hurt her feelings when she finds out the truth or is it because he feels Ophelia is too young and not ready for a relationship?

  1. "Spirit of health or goblin damned?" How do we understand the ghost in Act ...

    The issue of the soul is mentioned by a figure who walks the night in the torture of purgatory, this demonstrates how crucial heaven and hell are to the dynamics of the play. The ghost's use of spiterful verbs ("sting" and "prick")

  2. Select two soliloquies from Hamlet and analyse their significance to the play as a ...

    This results in the audience also only thinking about Hamlet. Hamlet often speaks religiously, "O God, God" it may even appear that Hamlet is praying in this soliloquy. The adjectives that are used help immensely in the imagery that is created, "things rank and gross in nature."

  1. How Does Shakespeare Convey a Sense of Anomie in Hamlet Act 1, and to ...

    The soliloquy as a whole gives the audience and insight into the mind of Hamlet, and allows us to see his inner turmoil, his psychological condition of rootlessness, futility, anxiety and amorality. Shakespeare creates a sense of institutional anomie in Act 1.

  2. How successful is Hamlet as a play about revenge? Consider both the modern and ...

    In fact, the Media often ridicules her. To a modern day audience, Claudius being a King has very little significance. Particularly so when considering that much of the audience will include young students, who could not imagine the Queen running the country. This does not necessarily make the play any less successful for the modern audience, as

  1. How is the ghost presented in Act One ofShakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’? What impact would it ...

    Speak, speak. I charge thee to speak." This shows the audience that Horatio is ordering the ghost to speak but in return the ghost does not say a word. This raises the question as to why the ghost will not speak.

  2. Hamlet & Madness

    it comes near the circumstance/ Which I have told thee of my father's death. / I prithee when thou seest that act afoot,/ Even with the very comment of my soul/ Observe my uncle. I his occulted guilt/ Do not unkennel in one speech/ It is a damn�d ghost we have seen, / And my imagination's are as foul..."(a.3.s.3L-60-77).

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