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In act 1 scene 5 of Shakespeare's Hamlet, what does the ghost mean when he says...

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timid1995 | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:43 PM via web

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In act 1 scene 5 of Shakespeare's Hamlet, what does the ghost mean when he says "Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled."?

In act1 scene5

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:33 AM (Answer #1)

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In Act I scene 5, Hamlet's father, the ghost, explains to his son just how he died.  The people of Denmark believe that he was napping in a field and was bitten by a snake.  However, the ghost refutes this story when he explains to young Hamlet that in fact he was murdered by his brother, Claudius, who poured poison in his ear as he slept. 

Aside from being killed by his brother, the former king explains that his life was

"Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin/ Unhouseled, disappointed,unaneled..."

The king was murdered before he had the opportunity to be forgiven of any of his sins.  The country is Catholic at the time, and so they believe that before one dies they should confess their sins and be given a last Communion.  Sadly, the king was robbed of these last rites when he was killed making the sins against him even more tragic.

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