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In Act I Scene 1 of Hamlet, how does the ghost react when Horatio speaks to it the...

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math2002 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 9, 2012 at 1:24 AM via web

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In Act I Scene 1 of Hamlet, how does the ghost react when Horatio speaks to it the first time?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 9, 2012 at 3:11 AM (Answer #1)

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When Horatio addresses the ghost, it immediately leaves the scene. Marcellus says that it is "offended," so it seems that Horatio's challenge to the ghost to identify itself angers the spirit, which of course looks like King Hamlet, recently deceased and succeeded by his brother Claudius. After a short time, in which Horatio explains an old conflict between the king and Fortinbras of Norway, and surmises that young Fortinbras is coming to reclaim lands lost in that dispute, the ghost appears again, only to vanish yet again when Marcellus asks if he should strike at it with his club. 

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