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The Ghost's Role in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The emergence of the ghost itself reveals directly that revenge will be playing a huge role in Hamlet's life, which turns out to be one of the major themes. The ghost's appearance had a huge mental affect on Hamlet. The lust for revenge had taken over Hamlet's mind. Everyday and every moment he would only think of ways in getting revenge. "So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear" (1.5.7), his father leaves a psychological effect telling Hamlet that he will be thirsty for revenge, when the ghost told him what had happened, and this became reality because once Hamlet came to know the truth all he would think of was revenge. Hamlet himself admits "I'll wipe away all trivial fond records, all saws of books, all forms, all pressures past ?????.within the book and volume of my brain" (1.5.100-104). Hamlet swears that he will forget everything and the only thing he will remember from now on is revenge. He swears "So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word" (1.5.111). Hamlet has now sworn that he shall take revenge from his uncle. The only thing that hamlet believes is "O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right!" (1.5.190-191). He believes that he is the only one who can avenge his father's death. The lust for revenge was so great that revenge started revolving in Hamlet's mind even before the ghost left, Hamlet said "Haste me to know't that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge" (1.5.29-30). Even before his father tells him who the actual murderer is, he wants to take revenge as soon as possible. This tells us how content and concentrated he is towards revenge. Shakespeare uses the ghost to give Hamlet the message of revenge and to carry on the play on the theme of revenge. The ghost adversely affects Hamlet's character throughout the play, in various manners. Hamlet's conduct and attire represent his character, and these appear to be changing throughout the play in different forms. In the beginning of the play he was the "sad" Hamlet, mourning for his father's death, and Claudius asks him "How is it that the clouds still hang on you?" (1.2.66); this portrays that Hamlet is sad and still mourning for his father's death. His mother describes his attire "Good Hamlet, cast thy knighted colour off, and let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not for ever with thy vailed lids seek for thy noble father in the dust" (1.2.68-71). She says that he is wearing a black cloak even though it has been many days since his father died. He owns this sad characteristic in the beginning of the play. After the appearance of the ghost his mind became imbalanced, and the rational and scholarly Hamlet became obsessed with the revenge of his father's murder. He thought of all women as deceitful and unfaithful because of mother's hasty remarriage. He started hating his mother because she didn't mourn enough for her husband's death. This changed Hamlet's character as he never hated women before this incident. He started having the feeling that his mother was involved in his father's murder. If the ghost would have never shown up then he would not know the reality about Claudius and he would have never started hating his mother, so the ghost influenced him in a negative manner, as Hamlet says "within a month, let me not think on't, Frailty, thy name is woman!" (1.2.145-146). This shows that he had started hating his mother because she hadn't mourned enough whereas before the appearance of the ghost he would say "I shall in best obey you, madam" (1.2.120), in a respective manner, but now he disrespects her. The appearance of the ghost also affects Hamlet as he is seen as a mad person. When he goes to see Ophelia, he had no hat on his head, his stockings were torn and he was very pale, as Ophelia admits "Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced, no hat upon his head, his stockings ???????.of horrors, he comes before me" (2.1.79-81), and Polonius replies "Mad for thy love!" (2.1.86). Everyone starts thinking he is mad, and this is because of the ghost. If the ghost would not have appeared then Hamlet would not have been mad. He also started distrusting people. The only person he trusted was Horatio, he never said it directly in the play, but he told no one except Horatio everything that the ghost had said, and he knew other people were fooling him, like he said to Guildenstern "how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would??????yet you cannot play upon me" (3.2.354-363), he also says "they fool me to the top of my bent" (3.2.375) to Polonius. This shows that Hamlet knew that he could not trust these people except for Horatio because they are always trying to fool him and deceive him. The reason why he started distrusting people was because of the ghost. After the ghost told him everything, his trust upon Claudius was over, and from then on he decided not to trust anyone. The ghost did therefore affect Hamlet's character in different perspectives, due to which Hamlet's behaviour, his attire, his thinking, his trust and his mentality, everything changed. Shakespeare uses the ghost in a very effective manner to create a perplexing mood, to advance the plot by demonstrating the theme of revenge and by fluctuating Hamlet's character throughout the play. He uses paranormal events on stage to carry on his play effectively and to build the structure and basis for the ongoing play, in order to create the interest of the audience.

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