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In Hamlet how many time does the ghost appear?

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hyousef | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 8, 2009 at 5:12 AM via web

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In Hamlet how many time does the ghost appear?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 8, 2009 at 6:19 AM (Answer #1)

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The Ghost appears to Marcellus and Bernardo in Act I.i.  It does not speak.  It exits and re-enters (does that count as a separate appearance?)  Then it exits again.  The Ghost had appeared the previous two nights to these same two guards, but it was before the action of the play (does that count?)

The Ghost appears to Horatio, Marcellus, and Hamlet in Act I.iv. It beckons to Hamlet and exits with Hamlet to the next scene.  The Ghost opens Act I.v, speaking to Hamlet on another platform (does that count as an appearance?)  It's a new scene, but Shakespeare didn't write in the scenes in the original Folio, so I don't know.  It speaks to Hamlet in scene v and tells him of his murder.

The Ghost appears to Hamlet in the famous closet interview with Gertrude and Polonius (hiding) in Act III.iv.  Gertrude and Polonius cannot see the Ghost, only Hamlet. The Ghost warns Hamlet not to harm his mother.

So, the Ghost appears in 4 different scenes.  It bridges two scenes, so it only really makes 3 separate appearances, unless you count the appearances before the play.  If that's the case, then it appears 5 times.  The Ghost has 5 entries and 5 exits.

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