Hamlet

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The spirit that claims to be Hamlet's dead father, forced to endure the fires of Purgatory because he was murdered by Claudius in his sleep without being able to ask forgiveness for his sins. The Ghost orders Hamlet to get revenge against Claudius, but spare Gertrude. Evidence in the play suggests that the Ghost really is the spirit of Hamlet's father, though Hamlet himself wonders at times if the Ghost might be a demon in disguise.
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The Ghost Character Timeline in Hamlet

The timeline below shows where the character The Ghost appears in Hamlet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 1
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
A Ghost appears. It looks like the recently deceased Old Hamlet, King of Denmark. Horatio tries to... (full context)
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
Horatio says the ghost might be warning of an attack. After all, the prince of Norway, Fortinbras, is raising... (full context)
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
The Ghost reappears but disappears again without speaking when the cock crows to greet the dawn. Horatio... (full context)
Act 1, scene 2
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
Horatio tells Hamlet about the ghost. Hamlet, troubled, decides to watch with the men that night. (full context)
Act 1, scene 4
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
The Ghost appears and beckons Hamlet to follow it. But Horatio and Marcellus hold him back: they... (full context)
Act 1, scene 5
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
When Hamlet and the Ghost are alone, the Ghost speaks. It claims to be the spirit of Old Hamlet, murdered... (full context)
Women Theme Icon
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
The Ghost commands Hamlet to seek revenge against Claudius for murder and for corrupting Gertrude. Yet the... (full context)
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...may pretend to be insane, and makes them swear to silence on his sword. The Ghost's voice echoes: Swear! They swear. (full context)
Action and Inaction Theme Icon
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Poison, Corruption, Death Theme Icon
Hamlet despairs at the burden the Ghost has given him: "The time is out of joint. / O cursed spite! That ever... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
Action and Inaction Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Hamlet has already told Horatio what the Ghost said, and now reveals his plan: the play to be put on will mirror the... (full context)
Action and Inaction Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
Hamlet is triumphant. He tells Horatio that this proves the Ghost was telling the truth. (full context)
Act 3, scene 4
Action and Inaction Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion, Honor, and Revenge Theme Icon
The Ghost appears in order, it says, to refocus Hamlet on his duty—revenge against Claudius. Hamlet speaks... (full context)