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Consider the significance of the Hamlet's ghost to the play in relation to the characters and the audience, both contemporary and Elizabethan.

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  • Essay length: 2245 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Hamlet

The first 200 words of this essay...

Susana Corona Cruz

Consider the significance of the Hamlet's ghost to the play in relation to the characters and the audience, both contemporary and Elizabethan.

Hamlet was written some time between 1599 and 1609. During those times revenge tragedies were very popular and ghosts were not an unusual feature. Similarly to the Senecan ghost used in Elizabethan times, Shakespeare's ghost acts as a prologue and sets up the action of the play, it introduces the plot line which irremediably leads to the later tragic consequences. However Hamlet's ghost was in many ways a "revolutionary innovation" and broke previous conventions of ghosts. Unlike its predecessor, the Senecan ghost, a "kind of Jack-in-the-box" (J.W.D) which was no more than a spook puppet used to scare the audience, undoubtedly adding "to the intense edification of the groundlings"; Hamlet's ghost had a much more human and realistic appearance. It was said to have been the figure of the old king Hamlet, still dressed in his old armour "Together with that fair and warlike form" and surrounded by an edgy, cold and frightening environment in which typically ghosts appear "'Tis bitter cold". The ghost disappeared at the sound of the cock crow,

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