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What Does the Ghost Tell Hamlet?

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The Ghost of Hamlet’s father appears in act 1, scene 5, and gives guidance to his son. He reveals the cause of his death: his brother, King Claudius, poisoned him when he was asleep. The Ghost demands Hamlet take revenge on Claudius but to do no harm to Queen Gertrude for her actions.

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The Ghost comes to Hamlet when they are alone. As it turns out, the King did because of the snake bite, according to the official version. In reality, his brother, King Claudius, poisoned him when he was sleeping. The Ghost tells his son that he must be prepared to avenge Claudius for murdering him and seducing his wife.

However, the Ghost tells Hamlet not to conspire against his mother, as she is merely a weak and lustful woman, but to concentrate on taking revenge on Claudius. He explains that heaven will judge Gertrude for her deed. After he has given all instructions to his son, the Ghost disappears.

The dialogue has an essential function in the story. It influences Hamlet’s behavior and shapes his actions. For the rest of the play, Hamlet is trying to complete the task his father gave him. The prince considers some crucial issues that were raised during the dialogue. This scene is a turning point in the whole play. It changes not only the main character but also the direction of further action.

The dialogue scene raises some of the central play’s themes, such as religion, revenge, and death. The topic of religion maintains throughout the whole story. In the dialogue, the Ghost confesses that he has sinned a lot throughout his life, and he worries that he died without getting redemption for his sins. The Ghost is stuck somewhere in purgatory and can move on to neither heaven nor hell until Hamlet executes his will. It reminds the reader about death’s inevitability and proves that life after death may not be as good as expected.

Moreover, Hamlet’s father justifies his desire to kill Claudius on religious grounds. He says that he wants Hamlet to murder his uncle for a higher purpose. So, he does not think that killing a person is unacceptable in religion if one has reasons.

Hamlet is often described as a revenge tragedy as the main character seeks revenge on his uncle. Indeed, this theme dominates the play, and some of the characters are obsessed with this idea. Nevertheless, the Ghost wants to end the evil and not the revenge itself. Furthermore, throughout the play, Hamlet does not exact vengeance but rather contemplate on it.

Death is another central theme of the book. The dialogue between the Ghost and Hamlet raises the idea of death and its consequences. Almost all the characters are somehow connected with death: some die, and some are obsessed with the idea. The Yorick scene, where Hamlet considers the inevitability of death, foregrounds the death’s theme.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "What Does the Ghost Tell Hamlet?" November 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-does-the-ghost-tell-hamlet/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'What Does the Ghost Tell Hamlet'. 25 November.

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