Hamlet is a play written by William Shakespeare. The play focuses on Hamlet, the nephew of the king of Denmark, as he exacts revenge against the king, Claudius. Hamlet, after the appearance of a ghost that introduces itself as the ghost of Hamlet’s father, is plagued with the thought that his father the king was murdered, and that the murderer is his uncle. He is not sure though, so he stages a play that reenacts King Hamlet’s death. Claudius’ reaction will determine the truthfulness of the ghost’s statement, Hamlet thinks.
The ghost, we can imagine, is miserable as his true situation is not known: that his own brother poisoned him, and a month after his death, the murderer married his widow. This pushes him to contact his son, and tell him the real state of their affairs. This could also be interpreted as a father’s concern for his son, his way of telling him that not everyone can be trusted. Even from the afterlife, King Hamlet is still guiding his son on what to do and whom to trust. The ghost can also be seen as an avenger of wrongs, only his instrument is his son. The ghost, then is the main mover of the play.
(Goldman) It moves the play forward, makes events happen. Without the ghost, Hamlet would have not discovered the treachery. Hamlet would also not plan his uncle’s murder. Without this element of revenge, the play would not have existed in the first place. The ghost also can be seen as the outsider. Since the ghost is already outside the realm of people, the ghost sees the follies of the people inside the castle. Through the ghost, we get a better picture of the kind of people in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Goldman, Peter. “Hamlet’s Ghost: A Review Article. ” Anthropoetics 7 (2001).