The Importance Of The Ghost In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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In William Shakespeare's work Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the ghost of the deceased king to play a significant role in the plot of the story as a whole in multiple ways. The first way Shakespeare uses the ghost of King Hamlet is by first using him to play a crucial role in the development of the characters in the play, especially Hamlet. An example of the ghost doing this is sending Hamlet into his descent into madness and furthering his complex character. Shakespeare does this by having the ghost inform Hamlet of his father’s murder. Secondly, Shakespeare uses the ghost to influence the theme of revenge and madness that develops in the play by using the ghost as a driving force for Hamlet. An example of the ghost doing this is by instructing …show more content…
“Let not the royal bed of Denmark be A couch for luxury and damned incest.” (1.5.82-83) The word choice Shakespeare employs through the ghost in these lines express the theme of revenge. This sends Hamlet on a mission to avenge his father and to figure out the exact moment to make his move. His father also presents the theme of revenge by instructing him to take action against his uncle Claudius. “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (1.5.25) In this line, Shakespeare clearly shows the motive behind the ghost and reveals that the ghost has only one purpose in appearing in the world of the living. This becomes Hamlet’s mission throughout the course of the play and will lead to his ultimate destruction by hurting the people he loves and cares about. On the other hand the theme of madness is also present in Hamlet. Like mentioned earlier, the scene between the ghost and Hamlet also creates the origin of Hamlet’s madness which only worsens as the play goes on. In the beginning Hamlet’s madness is merely a means to an end in order to get close to his uncle and mother, but this idea becomes less clear as the play progresses. Later the ghost reinforces the theme of madness when the ghost appears in the bedroom where Hamlet is talking to Gertrude. “On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares! His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones, Would make them capable.” (3.4.126-28) …show more content…
The ghost wishes to inform his son of the details of his murder and to persuade Hamlet to get revenge for him. As the play progresses the ghost becomes a significant character whose presence has more and more to do with the outcome of the play. The ghost is a driving factor in every aspect of the play from themes to action. In terms of theme, King Hamlet’s ghost speaks of the need to avenge him, which drives the theme of revenge. For the action of the play, the ghost reveals how the murder of Hamlet’s father occurs, which sends Hamlet on his mission to get payback. Fortinbras, the king of Norway, is a comparable character in Hamlet that plays a similar role in regards to the ghost. His significant, but brief presence in the play, is an immense influence on the development of the story. Fortinbras does this by being at the back of everybody's mind and by also looming over like a shadow throughout the entirety of the play. Amazingly he is still able to have a huge impact in the play, like the ghost of King Hamlet, even though he doesn’t appear until the end after everything happens. Fortinbras is a character that poses as an influence on the development of characters, theme, and action of the play. Although the two character are very different, Shakespeare uses

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