The Importance of the Ghost in Hamlet

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, William Shakespeare Pages: 2 (816 words) Published: September 30, 2012
The Importance of The Ghost in Hamlet
The ambiguity that is presented in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, has been one of the main factors that has allowed the play to be one of the most discussed piece in English Literature. One of the uncertainties that has been discussed is the purpose of the ghost of Hamlet’s father. This has led critics to explore and analyze the Ghost’s nature as well as its importance. Some critics suggest that the Ghost’s main purpose is to confirm Hamlet’s suspicions about Claudius and also to set the plot into motion. Critics have also discussed whether the Ghost really exist or if it’s an hallucination. The Ghost’s importance and the direct affect it has on characters does not minimize with it’s short appearance within the play. While, the Ghost only appears in two scenes, it still manages to have some sort of affect on the characters, especially Hamlet. For one, the Ghost is the one who orders Hamlet to seek his revenge by killing Claudius. Keeping in mind the time period, the Shakespearean audience would of thought that revenge was a sin, with their Catholic beliefs, thus having the idea that the Ghost may be evil. In a way, this also causes confusion within Hamlet, either seeking out revenge for his father’s death or following his Catholic beliefs. He wants to avenge his father, but his beliefs leads unable to slay Claudius, while Claudius is praying. Since, Hamlet believes that Claudius has repented, he also believes that if he kills Claudius, Claudius would go to heaven and not suffer like his father, who did not have a chance to repent his sins. Instead, Hamlet waits so that Claudius “knows thou a more horrid hent” (3.3.88). Ironically, Tiffany Grace states that “Ghost's plea for vengeance nearly results in Claudius's Christian repentance” (Grace 3). The Ghost gives Hamlet a reason to be indecisive and keeps him thinking rather than acting, which delays his plans. At first, it appears that Hamlet truly...
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