“Hamlet” is a play composed by William Shakespeare between 1599 and 1601 that was first published in 1603. The drama depicts astonishingly realistic periods of true and created insanity ranging from profound sorrow to rage while also dealing with problems such as betrayal, vengeance, incest, and moral decay.

Throughout the play, Hamlet philosophizes, speaks to himself, analyzes, establishes precise obligations, fails to perform them, criticizes himself for failing to act, and finally acts on temperament rather than reason. The role of the Ghost in Hamlet may be characterized in a variety of ways. The Ghost, for example, may be seen as Hamlet’s father attempting to reach him in order to wreak revenge on Claudius for his murder. It is also conceivable to see the Ghost as a malignant monster out to ruin Hamlet by giving him poor advice.

The Ghost’s intention is to save its spirit from Purgatory, which represents the interval between life and death, rather than to harm Hamlet. Its goal in the play is to enlighten Hamlet about how he died, and it is also crucial to several of the play’s themes, such as appearances against reality, action versus inaction, religion, honor, and revenge, and poison, death, and decay. The Ghost acts as a continual reminder of the force of death and the likelihood that the hereafter, to which all souls are going, will not be a pleasant place, regardless of one’s behavior while alive.

It informs Hamlet that Claudius, the king’s brother who succeeded to the throne and married Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, killed his father. The Ghost orders Hamlet to assassinate Claudius in order to avenge his father’s death. The task at hand weighs heavily on Hamlet’s mind. Is the Ghost wicked, enticing him into doing something that will condemn his soul to eternal damnation? Hamlet contests the veracity of the spectrum. Hamlet’s persona is authentic because of his doubt, anguish, and pain. He is, without a question, one of literature’s most psychologically complicated characters.

Shakespeare paints the look of the dead monarch in great detail. He was clad in armor, as he had been in the great battle against the Norwegian monarch. He was typically gloomy, armed from head to toe, and marched bravely toward the adversary, his vision sharpened. This is the unusual Ghost seen by numerous heroes all across the world, as well as the image in Prince Hamlet’s memoirs. It appears in Act I’s first, fourth, and fifth scenes, as well as Act III’s fourth scene.

Prince Hamlet’s feelings on his father’s spirit change during the play. He first accepts what it has to say since it matches with his own views about how his father died, and he is subsequently convinced of his own existence. The king accuses Claudius of murder and wooing the widow who is left alone, and simultaneously; he begins to encourage his son to seek vengeance.

The Ghost emerges for the first time in front of soldiers Bernardo and Marcellus, as well as Hamlet’s friend Horatio. They are horrified, pull their swords, and ask Horatio to confront the Ghost. He approaches him and invites him to speak with him, disclosing his secret, but he doesn’t have time to tell them all because the morning has arrived. The spirit in this scenario is described as the monarch, who is outfitted in his usual armor. Horatio also notices that the Ghost’s emergence must be tied to the state’s problems.

He convinces Hamlet to remain awake with the soldiers in order to observe if the Ghost would resurface. He returns and tells him about his sojourn in Purgatory after dying without undergoing the last rites: Confession, Communion, and Anointing. The presence of the Ghost at a particular juncture in the play adds drama to a debate that began two scenes earlier in Act 2, scene 2 when Hamlet became convinced of Claudius’ guilt. He realizes the Ghost was telling the truth when he accused Claudius of murdering him. 

Shakespeare’s use of spirits adds to the dynamic psychological complexity of his works. The Ghost of Hamlet is the play’s most fully formed and completed character. The truth of Hamlet’s father’s absence would have been felt throughout the play if the Ghost had not been present. 

The Spirit in Hamlet is central to the plot and has been interpreted in various ways. Greenblatt claims that the Ghost of Hamlet is more than a narrative device, a general standard of the Elizabethan vengeance play, as is frequently supposed. Its impact on both the public and young Hamlet extends far beyond its function as a storyline catalyst.[1]  W. W. Greg, a Shakespeare expert, believed that the Ghost was a fiction of Hamlet’s overworked mind[2]. Shakespeare expert J. Dover Wilson and others have suggested that by having the Ghost come to others several times before appearing to Hamlet, Shakespeare demonstrates that the appearance is not a simple delusion. [3] 

Shakespeare presents us with a young man plagued with existential uncertainties about punishment, death, and love, as well as a psychological and existential crisis. Shakespeare’s interpretative axis maybe The Ghost of King Hamlet. The Ghost, a paradigmatically present drama, harkens back to the late medieval area of enchantment and mysticism, the Catholic concept of Purgatory. “[T]he Ghost’s objective existence [is] dubious,” Gans writes, an illusion created by the mimetic rivalries of the play.[4]

[1] Greenblatt, Stephen. Hamlet in Purgatory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

[2]Greg, W.W., “Hamlet’s Hallucinations”, Modern Language Review, XII, 1917, 393–421

[3] Joseph, Miriam “Discerning the Ghost in Hamlet”. PMLA76 (5): 493–502

[4] Gans, Eric. Originary Thinking: Elements of Generative Anthropology. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993.

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Ghost in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Analysis," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2021, https://schoolworkhelper.net/ghost-in-hamlet-analysis/.
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