Develops Suspense and Atmosphere

Throughout the play it has a serious tone and because of this scene taking place at night, it develops a mysterious atmosphere to it.  Furthermore, there are supernatural elements in this scene. Therefore, it creates a more tense mood.

This scene creates suspense because the scene ends with Hamlet follows the Ghost with Horatio and Marcellus trailing behind, leaving the audience wondering what occurs between Hamlet and the Ghost. Also, readers want to read on because they finally get the chance to know the reason why the Ghost keeps on reappearing.

Links Incidents in the Plot

Horatio foreshadows Hamlet’s madness (1, 4, 69-74). Claudius creates a bad reputation for his country with his drinking. The poison spreads outward to infect individual men, just as bad individuals can infect an entire court (1, 4, 24-37).

Reveals the Nature of Important Characters

Serious- disapproves the partying of Claudius (1, 4, 8-11)

Reckless- When told not to go after the Ghost by Horatio and Marcellus numerous times, Hamlet ignores what they say and follows the Ghost even though he does not think beforehand what might occur to him. (1, 4 69- 79)

Motivated- Because Hamlet wants to find the reason why the Ghost keeps on appearing, he does not think of the consequences when he follows the Ghost. (1, 4, 82-86)

Demonstrates Contrast

Appearance and reality; Claudius appears to be a powerful man, yet has a weakness for wine. Claudius makes all Danes appear to be drunkards, attracting disrespect from allies and enemies. (1, 4, 8-11).


The scene reveals how stubborn Hamlet is and how little he listens to his peers. “Look, with that courteous action, It waves you to a more removed ground, but do not go with it. No, by no means. It will not speak; then will I follow it.

Do not, my lord. Why, what should be the fear?” (I, IV, 60-64). From seeing how stubborn Hamlet is, readers can predict that Hamlet will not listen to his peers and only do what he thinks is right throughout the course of the play.

“What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord, Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff, That beetles o’er his base into the sea,, And there assume some other horrible form, Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason, And draw you into madness? think of it:” (I, IV, 69-74)

From this segment of the scene, Horatio predicts what will happen to Hamlet if he follows the ghost. Horatio’s words foreshadow that Hamlet may be ‘deprived of his sovereignty of reason’ and may eventually be drawn into madness.

Reveals Loyalty to an Important Character

Throughout the course of this scene, Horatio and Marcellus show their fear for the ghost and how they do not wish to follow it. Horatio knows of the ill things that may occur if they were to follow the ghost. Despite everything, they decide to follow the ghost and Hamlet.

“Let’s follow; ‘tis not fit thus to obey him. Have after. To what issue will this come? Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Heaven will direct it. Nay, let’s follow him.” (I, IV, 88-92)

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