The “Hamlet Saw a Ghost” scene is the most interesting scene of the play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. It is interesting because of the presence of an unusual character: the ghost. This is the scene that gives the start to all the remaining parts of the story. It is shorter than other scenes of the play, but with a synthetic style, it reveals all the important details needed for deep analysis. In this scene, we face the emotional breakdown of Hamlet and the emotions and requirements of a dead soul (the ghost). The words of the characters, especially of the Ghost, carry a lot of emotions. The most important ones are hate, pain, compassion, and desire for vengeance. The ghost says: “Foul and most unnatural murder” (Shakespeare 1799). This phrase is proof of his hate. Many artistic phrases allow the audience to feel the actions as though they were real. Some of them are: “Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood/Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres”, “Why thy canonized bones, hearse in death/Have burst their cerements; why the sepulcher”,” I do not set my life at a pin’s fee/And set my soul, what can it do to that/Being a thing immortal as itself?”.
The scene has great importance because it reveals the truth about the death of Hamlet’s father. This truth becomes the key factor of the upcoming actions of the story. It catalyzes these actions. Hamlet says, crying, “O my prophetic soul” (Shakespeare 1799). From these words, it is easy to understand that he expected the kind of evil revealed to him. This scene is not only the way to reveal something; it is also an invocation of vengeance. This invocation gives meaning to all the other upcoming actions and it is the reason for the following emotional statement of prince Hamlet.
The “Ghost” scene has also another peculiarity worthy to be discussed. Differently from the other scenes of the story; here we have a ghost as a character. In this part of the play, Shakespeare wanted to bring an element from the hereafter to illustrate some ideas. By describing the punishment that the soul of Hamlet’s father went through, the writer gives an important message to the audience: evil things are punished. In this case, this message becomes also a prediction of what is going to happen in the future. In other words, the ghost plays the role of the “predictor.” By carefully reading the ghost scene, is possible to think that Prince Hamlet will try to do justice.
Prince Hamlet undertakes further actions after finding out the truth about his father’s death. All of the play describes the efforts of doing justice by vengeance. If this scene did not exist, the play would lose its meaning. That is why it is very important. Prince Hamlet makes the most important decision of his life, and at the same time, he passes through the worst situation of his life. Hamlet’s statement in this scene is strongly related to his actions described in the following scenes. The events in this part of the play become the main cause of the prince’s decisions. Talking with the ghost and finding out the truth affects all aspects of his life. Vengeance becomes his obsession and his reason for living. He commits himself to avenge his father’s death by making a promise to himself and his father. It is easy to understand his sadness from his words: “The time is out of joint: O cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right” (Shakespeare 1803). The prince begins to discover that the world was not as he thought. It was full of evil and lies. His emotional statement is tense when he thinks about the evil crime committed by killing his father.
In comparison to the world today, many people nowadays pass through the same situation. They pass from a phase of life to another. Growing up, they find out things they had ignored before. These things require changes in the people’s plans and objectives. Hamlet changes his life plans and objectives because he is asked to do that. He is asked to revenge for the death of his father. Revenge becomes his life objective.
Shakespeare, William. “Hamlet.” The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces Shorter Second Edition Vol. 1. Gen. Ed. Jerome Clinton. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. 1782-1872.