In Act 1 scene 4 of Hamlet, describe the initial encounter between Hamlet and the ghost.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first appearance of the Ghost before Hamlet in this scene is one that clearly upsets Hamlet. However, it is also obvious that he suspects the Ghost is actually the ghost of his dead father, as there would be no way in which he would follow the Ghost if it did not resemble his father so accurately. Hamlet's speech when he sees the Ghost is delivered to it, and seeks to know the reason why his father should walk again and is not at rest:

What may this mean,

That thou, dead corpse, again in complete steel,

Revisitst thus the glimpses of the moon,

Making night hideous...

Hamlet therefore is taken in by the Ghost, and is deeply disturbed, suspecting that his father is not at rest because of some problem. This is why he is willing to follow the Ghost, even though Marcellus and Horatio urge him not to. Not only does Hamlet feel he has nothing to lose, but he also feels he must know what has caused his father to walk again in the form of a ghost, and what he might have to do as a result.

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