Of the other major characters in Hamlet, the Ghost is important because his demand for revenge sets the plot into motion. The apparition's ambiguous role in the drama reflects the general confusion about spirits in Shakespeare's day. Throughout the tragedy, the Ghost is alternately viewed as an illusion, a portent foreshadowing danger to Denmark, a spirit returning from the grave because of a task left undone, a spirit from purgatory sent with divine permission, and a devil who assumes the form of a dead person to lure mortals to doom. While Hamlet is chiefly concerned with...
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