Significance of the Ghost to William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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Significance of the Ghost to William Shakespeare's Hamlet

In Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', the ghost plays a key role in influencing the destinies of the other characters. The ghost is important to the play as it symbolizes both fate and catalyses the plot. It also brings the play into the revenge tragedy genre, which allows foreshadowing to occur and helps the audience, both Elizabethan and contemporary to better understand the play and appreciate it. The late King Hamlet is forced to roam the earth as he was murdered before he could confess to his sins, having to remain in purgatory till his sins are washed from him and he is able to enter into heaven. Hamlet, the tragic hero of the play, and is
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For the Elizabethan audience, the spirit could have been an illusion, an angel, a devil or a soul ascended from Purgatory. They believed that it was on death that the soul either went to Heaven or Hell, thus eliminating the possibility of a human soul returning to Earth," heaven will direct it". This quote illustrates the strong religious belief, giving rise to speculation of the ghost's origins, heaven or hell ?

The presence of the ghost is only apparent to Hamlet, Horatio and the guards. Hamlet is the only one who can hear him talking and this also shows how close Hamlet was to his father. His own mother, in the second appearance of the ghost, is completely unaware, which highlights the void created between mother and son since the death of the king. " Save me and hover o'ver me with your wings, you heavenly guard", Hamlet puts faith in the ghost rather than his own mother. His mother's reply, "Alas, he's mad". This can only demonstrate how effective the ghost is in bending Hamlet to his will, and making his antic disposition apparent to the other characters, a most important point in the play. The second appearance of Hamlet is not as pivotal or central to the play as the first as its function is to remind the audience of Hamlets quest and therefore adds nothing more to the play apart