Role of the Ghost in Hamlet
The most straightforward term paper report of the role of the ghost in Hamlet is to set right the wrongs done by mortals. The ghost in Hamlet urges Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (I v. 25). It is unnatural in the sense that some order to the world has been upset and something must be done to set it aright. Says the ghost, “Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature/Are burnt and purged away,” (I v, 12-13). But if Shakespeare were to change the state of the mortal world through simple supernatural edict it would tell us little of interest about ourselves. It is the way in which supernatural agency alters Hamlet’s psychology that is most interesting. The change experienced by Hamlet in confrontation with his father’s ghost is as profound psychologically as it is on the action of the play. When we meet Hamlet he is in the grip of ambiguous melancholy, but after his encounter with the ghost his pain is given object and his purpose made clear.
The knowledge that his uncle Claudius killed his father does not throw Hamlet into a state of insanity, but rather into a search for his own identity in terms of loyalty, duty, ancestry, and love. By way of Hamlet’s monologues, the audience learns that Hamlet uses the guise of craziness in order to carry out his plan of revenging his father’s death. His craziness then serves as a tool to distract those around him as he plots the carry out the duty given him by way of his father’s ghost.