In Act 1, Scene 5, Hamlet sees the Ghost who tells Hamlet that he has been murdered by Claudius. What is the theme of this scene in Hamlet?What are the explicit and implicit messages? What is the...

In Act 1, Scene 5, Hamlet sees the Ghost who tells Hamlet that he has been murdered by Claudius. What is the theme of this scene in Hamlet?

What are the explicit and implicit messages? What is the effect on the audience’s sympathies?

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I guess I'm not sure what you mean by "theme of the scene."  The Ghost's objective (as well as Shakespeare's) in this scene is to reveal the true nature of Claudius to the audience and to incite Hamlet to take revenge. Beyond that, several other things happen.

First, Hamlet is justified in his suspicions of Claudius; he's been pondering this in his heart since his father died, and now he knows he was right. 

Second, we see Hamlet's immediate resolve--to erase every other thought from his brain and concentrate on this one task.  He even writes it down, a sign of his true resolve to get revenge on Claudius for his father's death

Finally, we hear the lines that will plague the students of Hamlet until the end of time, as Hamlet warns Horatio and "the boys" not to let on:

How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on.

This is the inception of the "mad" or "mad in craft" debate which rages throughout the play.  He plans here to "act" mad; whether or not he crosses the line into real madness is a matter of opinion. 

This act, and in particular this scene, does what every good act is supposed to do--set the stage, with some inciting moment, for the rest of the play.