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In act 1, scene 4, why is Hamlet not afraid to follow the ghost? Quote the line that...

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timid1995 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted October 13, 2012 at 9:42 PM via web

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In act 1, scene 4, why is Hamlet not afraid to follow the ghost? Quote the line that explains this.

In act 1, scene 4.

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:15 PM (Answer #1)

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When Horatio and Marcellus are trying to restrain Hamlet from following the Ghost, who is beckoning to him, he tells them:

Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin's fee,
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?

Horatio and Marcellus are terrified of the ghost. No doubt many of the members of the audience are also frightened by the eeriness of the scene, as Shakespeare intended. Hamlet's behavior stands in sharp contrast. It must have been Shakespeare's intention to demonstrate early on in the play that Hamlet was exceptionally courageous, so that there should be no suspicion that his problem in bringing himself to assassinate Claudius is due to cowardice. He continues to show courage throughout his uncanny supernatural encounter with the Ghost in scene 5, and his courage is demonstrated again later in the play when it is reported that he singlehandedly boarded an attacking pirate ship and became their prisoner.

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