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

siginificance of ghost in hamlet

Extracts from this document...


Shakespearean Tragedies are typical of overwhelming grief and revengeful characters which Hamlet is a prime example of. The writer's inclusion of the Ghost not only adds to the dramatic effect of the play but also the plot and outcome. The Ghost plays a critical role in defining the destinies of the other characters and lifting the structure of Hamlet. Shakespeare applied the Ghost at the opening of the play for a theatrical and foreboding introduction to Hamlet. The audience is immediately hit with a frightening scene of confusion and interest. By exploring the language and structure of Hamlet we can begin to understand the importance of the Ghost in Act One. By generating the interest of the audience in the first scene of Hamlet the playwright can immediately immerse the audience in what the guards have witnessed. "What, has this thing appeared again tonight?". Horatio questions the existence of the Ghost and says "Tush, tush, 'twill not appear". This adds to the suspense the audience is experiencing as they wonder whether the Ghost will actually appear. Shakespeare uses the connotations of the Ghost to create a threatening opening to the play. ...read more.


"Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast" instantly shows his disgust towards Claudius and questions how his wife could marry someone as foul as his brother. "Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor" illustrates how he cannot believe that his wife who he truly loved would reject him for Claudius when their love was false. This has a great affect on Hamlet who now has his worst fears confirmed and gives his attention to the Ghost. The phantom continues by describing his actual murder. He makes himself seem innocent and vulnerable by saying, "sleeping within my orchard" and "upon my secure hour". This conveys the idea to Hamlet that his Father was killed whilst he was unprotected and in his own garden which leads Hamlet to believe that Claudius is a coward and adds to his hatred. The Ghost is preparing Hamlet for his task ahead by making him detest Claudius and feel sorry for his Father. This is followed up with disturbing imagery to shock Hamlet whilst leading him to revenge. "Swift as quicksilver" and "courses through the natural gates and alleys of the body" is referring to the poison moving through King Hamlet's body and gradually killing him. ...read more.


The Ghost also introduces the theme of justice in the sense that a sin must be met with a punishment. Not only is this an important aspect of Hamlet, but it also provides the basis for characters to take action. The Ghost is the foundation of Hamlets motivation throughout the play and the cause for action of several characters. I believe that the Ghosts presence in the opening and progression of Hamlet is significant. He is the backbone of the play as it is the appearance of the ghost which results in Hamlet taking action which actually develops the play further. Not only does the Ghost convey the evidence of his Father's murder, but he gives him a purpose to fulfill. Shakespeare's use of the Ghost allows him to gradually reveal the plot through creating peaks of tension as the Ghost enters and exists during Act One of Hamlet. The conventional connotations of the spirit also add to the dramatic atmosphere surrounding the plot which lets Shakespeare explore and develop his characters along with the tragic elements of the play. Although the application of the Ghost can be seen as common in an Elizabethan drama it is obvious that the addition of the Ghost is much more complex and not merely a dramatic device. ...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. How Does Shakespeare Convey a Sense of Anomie in Hamlet Act 1, and to ...

    The repetition of " most foul" and "unnatural" really paint a picture of evil and sick actions, almost creating a feeling of disgust in both Hamlet and the audience. Shakespeare explores the institutional anomie he has put out through different charcters. Some, like Ophelia, cannot take it and go mad.


    things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy' Hamlet (Act 1 Scene 2 Line 174-5). By Hamlet putting on the act of antic disposition he is going against God's will and breaking the Chain of Being.

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

    This is because Shakespeare wants to create an image of the ghost's physical appearance in the audiences' minds, so that when the ghost does come on, they will be aware of its physical appearance. The ghost's physical appearance is described in a number of places during the first scene.

  1. What does the role of the Ghost of King Hamlet add to the beginning ...

    to be an effective language for articulating with spirits and exorcism in general. As the spectre approaches, Horatio questions its nature with reference to the King, to which he receives no reply. During his short speech, the previously ignorant guard angers the Ghost by accusing him of 'usurping' or intruding upon their royal ground and by ordering him to speak.

  2. Consider the part the Ghost plays in Act 1 scene 1 of ‘Hamlet’. How ...

    The guards and Horatio then see the ghost as well and decide to tell Hamlet. The way that the time and place are revealed is very important. The way that the avenging Fortinbras is preparing for war is very important because it foretells the avenging Hamlet.

  1. Consider the significance and importance of the Ghost to the play, to the other ...

    the possibility of a human soul returning to Earth," heaven will direct it". This quote illustrates the strong religious belief, giving rise to speculation of the ghost's origins, heaven or hell ? The presence of the ghost is only apparent to Hamlet, Horatio and the guards.

  2. Consider the three treatments of the Ghost Scene in Hamlet that you viewed. Which ...

    "Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me." He reaches out with his arms, as if he wishes he could hug his son, then disappears. Hamlet falls to his knees in despair and cries. Hamlet gets up and walks down some steps. A window in the roof reveals the dining hall, in which Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, and uncle, Claudius, are eating at a party.

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