Free «The Ghost is a Character in the Drama "Hamlet"» Essay Sample

The Ghost is a Character in the Drama

The Ghost is a famous character in the drama "Hamlet", written by William Shakespeare.  The ghost character is Hamlet 1, which talks to Hamlet’s father that his brother murdered him.  His name was Claudius and hamlet was his nephew.  Claudius is the same person who is married to Gertude (Hamlet’s mother) and sitting on the throne of Denmark as the Queen. The ghost also claims that he had to suffer tormenting flames until the foul crimes done by him previously, are not burned, and pulled away. 

In the meantime, young Hamlet was wondering and was surprised as to whether a ghost had to go such torment after death once reaching the heaven?  He was also surprised when the ghost asked him to murder someone close to him because as per his knowledge, ghosts were not supposed to order to murder someone. Hamlet was in a great mystery and was finding it difficult to figure what exactly he had to do, whether to follow the ghost’s commands and believe whatever the ghost said to him or just refuse to murder his Uncle Claudius instead of believing in what the ghost said about him (Lower, 445).

Hamlet lived in Denmark, which is a country that has the majority of protestant people.  What increased his dilemma was the belief in which they deny the concept of purgatory.  “There was little reason for hamlet to believe or the ghost’s said to him so his disbelief continued and he had more reasons not to be with the ghost told him” (Lower, 86-91). As soon as the ghost disappeared, he was back to the real life. Claudius, the King of Denmark, asked the reason of massive Danish troop buildup near the border since he himself was puzzled.  He was told by Horatio that Danish army was preparing a possible invasion over Fortinbras.  “The reason for such a massive military consolidation along the border was the curious moments of enemy troops across the Fortinbras” (Lower, 86-91). 

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Claudius addresses his people after his marriage to Hamlet’s mother, representing himself as a person mourning the death of his elder brother despite the happiness he enjoyed since his wedding, the beginning of a new life. He also said that he has spoken to Fortinbras’s uncle and he promised to hold any misadventure plan by Fortinbras. With this message to the Norwegians to settle down the business and reduce the tension on borders, Claudius finishes as a speech (Sanchez, 275).

Hamlet is given a chance to speak to the crowds for the first time although he was not attentive to what his uncle had said to the people.  From Hamlet, the loss of his father was too grieving to listen to Claudius. Which was the reason for his gloominess and sad behavior, so he did not reply about why he was still deeply grieved by the death of his father?  Claudius agreed with his nephew and makes a speech about losing one’s father or any nearby relative.  Hamlet is not at all impressed by his uncle’s speech because after the Ghost appeared to him, he was skeptic of Claudius. “Claudius made an offer to his nephew to live with them instead of going back to Wittenberg where he was a student there, but when his mother insisted, he could not disagree” (Lower, 86-91).

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At times Hamlet was surprised at his mother’s marriage with his uncle and how her silly everything occurred which disgusted him.  This all was added to his existing frustration and the word of ghost began circling in his thoughts.  At times, used to think whether the ghost was saying that truth?  Those were confusing times for Hamlet and he had little, if at all, to deny for.  Then he used the think that Claudius, no matter how powerful he was, was still his uncle and the brother of his father, why would he do such a thing?  Even if Claudius did it, why his mother was with Claudius instead of being mourning for her husband?

Many puzzling questions were circling his mind but Hamlet it had no uncertain any of them. It was all too vague to make a definite picture out of it.  In the meantime, his old friend Horatio entered his room but Hamlet was thinking so deeply that he could not notice when his friend entered. Horatio told him the event when he saw the ghost in person and all that the ghost told him. Hamlet was interested to know more about the ghost and decided to go with Horatio next day.  In the meantime, hamlet found a deep interest in Laertis, with whom he was spending much of his time lately. Although he like her, but he was being realistic when he told her to forget him because he was the prince of Denmark and he had huge responsibilities to fulfill for his country and asked her not to expect him to be a good husband after being the ruler of his state since it was not the most rational thing to do.

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The character of ghost in Hamlet is not just a symbolic figure that but it has a lot to do with the mindset of Shakespeare.  The ghost of king Hamlet was not a creature of flesh and blood, instead, it was the spirit of the man who spent his life under the burden of sins and may have to who regretted majority of his life a span as a senior but at the same time, he wanted his son to avenge his death.  The ghost also wanted to tell Hamlet what exactly the kingdom meant to him because on the death of his mother, his son was the true king of Denmark and not his uncle Claudius.  Shakespeare has the character of ghost with so much the pathos and with the nobility that it was understandable that he believed that the ghost was not to deceive Hamlet because the spirit had no connection with the devil (Sanchez, 275).

The story revolves around the theme of vengeance that Hamlet carries with himself after realizing the truth of his father’s death. The ghost, an apparition of his father, Hamlet 1 comes to his son to let him know the truth behind his death. The character of ghost symbolizes the devil and his intention to corrupt an innocent soul with rage, wrath and it makes sure that this is the only desire that the boy lives with, as long as he lives. The negativity is inevitable in the ghost’s motif of telling the story of his alleged murder to Hamlet who is a young man, full of emotions and strength, able to lay revenge upon the so-called murderer of his father, without realizing what the actual event was. However, for an instant, he thinks about what the ghost told him and he had no way to verify his story.

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Throughout history, according to well-known philosophers like Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, all agree that the very character of evil is the epitome of negativity and it does the same to those who intend to fallow him. Same has occurred with Hamlet, he is corrupted by evil motifs of ghost which is clear when he taunts his mother in a cruel way, same occurs when he killed Polonius although he thought about whether to kill or not but this is what devil does to a person’s mind by presenting him with negative thoughts, plans.

Overall, the theme of evil and corruption of emotions is presented by Shakespeare in the form of ghost who goes on a mission to corrupt the boy, his thoughts, his mind, and his feelings. He was in love before he met the ghost but it is easy to see how negative thoughts encompass a person with rage and revenge that he forgets even those who are dearer to him, closer to him than others. I believe that Hamlet has a presentation of evil in the form of his father’s spirit, which came to him with a mission i.e. to twist his thoughts to the level of madness, and it achieved just that.

“The beauty of the whole drama lies in the portrayal of a Christian belief which is what all the Christians deeply admire” (Lower, 86-91). The theme reminds us of life after death and how a soul resides in an undisclosed place that lies between the heaven and the earth. The spirit of king Hamlet is so restless that he can barely avenge his murder. The restlessness of king Hamlet’s soul is not only because of his own sense and what happened to him but it is more so because he wanted to erase the sins of his country and his nation about whom he was more worried.

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Later, when Hamlet is all alone, he accepts the mission as one for his personal vengeance.  He was in control of himself when swept away with ambition and the love of Ophelia who was not pure despite of what he thought about her. In vengeance, even the purest love becomes impure, according to Hamlet.  He also realizes that while committing to avenge his father’s death, he is no longer a noble person worthy of ruling his country and nation (Sanchez, 275).

He did not consider himself as the savior of Denmark after what he was about to do i.e. to the murder of his father because he committed to return evil with evil.  The spirit of his father already worked well on his son because what he told his son was enough to anger him and to relate his wrath on his uncle who, according to the spirit, was the real culprit. Hamlet’s heart was wounded deeply and due to the effect of this wound, he was deaf to listen to anything, any opinion, any justification, was deemed insufficient at this stage.  On the next night, Hamlet, along with her friends, waits for the ghost to appear. 

But that they hear cannons firing sounds, Hamlet tells them that this is a sign that Claudius is drinking pledges. In the meantime, Hamlet goes on a show tirade against the Danish custom of drinking heavily. He immediately addressed the ghost as he was imploring to speak.  After listening to what he had to say, the goes back and for Hamlet to come away apart from his friends.  Horatio and Marcellus tried their best to keep Hamlet from chasing the ghost that he never listened.  They warn him repeatedly of the consequences of chasing the ghost but to no avail and Hamlet kept moving.  Despite this, move his friends kept a close watch on Hamlet to make sure that no harm comes to him.

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“Finding Hamlet along, the ghost speaks about why he came to him again” (Lower, 86-91).  Ghost’s tells him that heat comes at a nightly walk from purgatory where he has been under constant torment because of the scenes of his life.  The ghost also reveals that he was not killed by a wiper as a visually announced but he was in fact, murdered.  Eventually the ghost tells Hamlet what actually happened to him and how he was murdered. 

Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and his father’s younger brother, also the current ruler of Denmark and hamlets stepfather, was the real murderer.  The ghost told hamlet, “I am thy father; I am tormenting in hell as I was killed in a dreadful way and remained unpurified of my sins” (Lower, 86-91). Hamlet replies in disbelief, “Where will thou take me? I’ll go no further” (Lower, 86-91). Ghost replied, “My hour has come, to leave and go back to tormenting flames” (Lower, 86-91). Hamlet replies, “Alas! Poor ghost” (Lower, 443). The Ghost continues to tell his story, “I am the spirit of thy father, doomed for a certain period to walk the night and to confine in fire during the day” (Lower, 86-91). Ghost continues, “I could unfold a tale whose lightest words would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood”. Ghost said, “Thy knots and combined locks to part, and each hair to stand on end, as quills upon fretful porpentine, thou dist ever thy father’s love, revenge his foul and most unnatural murder”. Hamlet shouted, “Murder!” Ghost, “That roots itself in ease on lethe wharf, would thou not stir in this” (Lower, 67-70).

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The ghost also told him how Claudius knocked into his garden while he was resting; having an afternoon nap was a habit of King Hamlet. After sneaking through, Claudius poured poison into his ear, killing the King in the most painful way possible, leaving his soul unpurified of his sins thus also responsible for his torment in the afterlife. Ghost said, “Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchid, a serpent stung me, so the whole ear of Denmark is by a forged process of my death, but know thy noble youth, the serpent that stung thy father’s life, now wears his crown” (Lower, 45).

While telling the whole story, the ghost asked him to wage his vengeance upon his murder and a person who was responsible for sending his soul unpurified thus increasing his torment many fold. The ghost also emphasize that Hamlet must not do anything against his mother because she had nothing to do with his murder, simply suggested that his mother was innocent and was not aware what went through with her former husband. Although she was weak and lustrous, the ghost spared her. While telling the story, ghost said, “Thus I was sleeping, by a brother’s hand, cut off even the blossoms of my sin, no reckoning made but sent to my account, with all my imperfections on my head, O, horrible, o horrible, most horrible” (Hilary, 69).

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Hamlet replies with shock and awe, “What a rogue and peasant slave am I, Is I not monstrous that this slave here, but in a dream of passion, in a fiction could force his soul so to his conceit that from her working all his visage wann’d.”(Lower, 55-66).  With tears in his eyes, Hamlet continued, “A broken voice and all his function suiting with forms of his conceit, and all for nothing!”(Lower, 33) “What Hacuba to him or him to Hacuba that he should weep for her? Had he the motif and the cue for passion that I have? O vengeance, what an ass I am!” (Lower, 102)

This had a profound effect on Hamlet and left him overwhelmed and full of rage.  He was willing to wrath his anger upon his uncle the moment she got a chance.  He swears to the ghost of his father and pledges to kill his murder regardless whether he was as uncle, stepfather, or whoever.  Hamlet does not even tell his friends about what conversation he had with the ghost and goes to sleep without much discussion. He kept the promise between him and his father’s ghost like a true son. However, his friends insisted that he tell them about the conversation so he was left with no choice but to tell them but in doing so, he made them swear that they will not tell anyone about this in this regard will remain between the three of them.  Hamlet was still not sure what to make of the ghost, so he said, “The spirit that I have seen, maybe the Devil and the Devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape, out of my weakness and my melancholy as he is very potent to such spirits, abuse me to damn me and I shall have ground but more relative to this is the play is the thing, wherein I will catch the conscious of the king”. (Lower, 67)











He told in the whole story what the ghost told him the other night and asked them not to tell it to anyone.  He also told about their scene that he had in mind to kill the murder of his father that he did not give them the full details as he did not trust anyone anymore. The theme of ghost in Hamlet is by no means a new theme and has been used in many classic dramas all with the years but there is something you need to understand about the relationship between father and son in the context of Hamlet.


Shakespeare has presented a theme, which represents a pure relation between a father and son.  It also represents possible emotions the sole might feel after death.  There’s a lot of symbolism and religious gesture present in Shakespeare’s work and Hamlet is no different with what actually happens in the afterlife is ones guess and we as a religious followers only believe what we are told because we consider it as a part of our faith and nothing more.  It also presents a case about lost, deceit, and Greed and to what extent these three traits can harm a man’s thoughts.  Claudius suffered with lust and greed and ended up taking his brother’s life but in doing so, he earned his nephew’s wrath and anger. This is the theme of the play, which suggests that hatred must never be earned and if earned, it always results in an unpleasant manner.

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