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siginificance of ghost in hamlet

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Introduction

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.

Middle

"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.

Conclusion

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.

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