The Ghost In Hamlet Analysis

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What is the ghost in Hamlet? Hamlet is one of the most memorable Shakespearean plays as it delves into several themes such as death, power and madness. The ghost is an important character within the themes that shape the outcome of this revenge tragedy. Thus, we must ponder what is the ghost and how it can be interpreted in a plethora of ways. This essay will examine three possible answers to the question discussing how the ghost is either Hamlet`s father: the king of Denmark, a figment of his imagination or Shakespeare himself. The most obvious answer to the question is that the ghost is Hamlet`s father, returning to comfort his grieving young son and to give the audience a reason for his death. One of the ghost`s main purposes…show more content…
It has been argued by many literary critics that the ghost is a figment of Hamlet`s imagination. In an essay by Brett E Murphy, it is suggested that as Barnardo, Marcellus and Horatio are the first to witness the ghost, this indicates that the apparition is real because “three level headed characters view it first” (57.) However, the characters hesitate about the reality of the ghost as Marcellus insists that they “question it” (Hamlet,1.1) whilst Barnardo seems to believe that the ghost is not “something more than fantasy” (Hamlet,1.1). Several other events over the course of the play indicate Hamlet`s fragile state of mind as flaws arise in the plot suggesting that the ghost could only be present in his thoughts. For example, the prince`s cruel and irrational behaviour towards his love interest Ophelia which leads to her suicide indicates that he was possibly not in the right frame of mind. Another example would be that he plays with the idea of madness on several occasions often appearing distorted, creating speculation about whether or not the prince is insane. It is only when Hamlet contemplates suicide “to be or not to be that is the question” (Hamlet,3.1) that he finally begins to recognise the permanency of death as being “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns” (Hamlet, 3.1). It appears that he accepts the likelihood of the ghost not descending from purgatory after all, supporting the argument that the character is a figment of his

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