The Ghost in Hamlet

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Hamlet, a play by William Shakespeare, is a tragic story involving themes that are shown through the actions os several important characters. However, there is one character that has a minor part but plays a major role: the the Ghost of King Hamlet.

The Ghost plays a vital role in the understanding and interpretation of Hamlet’s sanity. When Hamlet first encounters the Ghost of his father, the Ghost reveals to Hamlet the way Hamlet's father died. After Hamlet hears this news coming out of his own father’s ghostly mouth, he instantly feels rage towards his uncle and mother. He is angry with his mother because of the fact that she would marry Hamlet's uncle right after the death of his father. All of the problems with his family start to make Hamlet feel like he cannot trust anyone, not even his own mother. These issues alone could be enough to affect his mental status, and combining it with the fact his father actually returns as a ghost to tell him this terrible information, could cause him to lose his mind. The ghost appears a second time in front of Gertrude and Hamlet. Hamlet's absurd reaction upsets Gertrude, for she cannot see the ghost and now she thinks her son has definitely gone insane.  The queen is wondering “Alas, he’s mad!” and “to whom do you speak this?” Hamlet tries to make his mother see the ghost, but Gertrude sees nothing and insists again that he is mad and hallucinating. Hamlet himself is now forced to face the possibility that he is imagining the ghost. Even he can’t be sure whether he is completely sane or not. Another theme that the ghost helps establish is the theme of revenge. All the actions of Hamlet are based on the one task the ghost gives the prince: to avenge his father’s murder. When the ghost meets with Hamlet he first tells him that he is his father's ghost and that he is "Doomed for a certain term to walk the night and for the day confined to fast in fires, till the foul crimes done in my days of nature Are burnt and purged...
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