In Hamlet Act I, Hamlet learns the following from the Ghost:
- There is an afterlife. He's not sure if the Ghost is a demon or a soul trapped in Purgatory, but he's definitely from some supernatural world.
- Hamlet's father was murdered by his brother.
- Hamlet's mother was adulterous and incestuous. She had an affair with Claudius before the marriage.
- Hamlet must revenge his father by killing his uncle:
- Hamlet's mother must be "left to heaven." Hamlet must not take revenge on his mother.
- Hamlet's father loved Hamlet very much.
- Denmark is a prison. The entire state is wronged by these vile acts: "the whole ear of Denmark Is by a forged process of my death Rankly abused:"
- Hamlet must listen to the Ghost and all of Denmark hereafter for clues: "List! List! O List!" and "Now, Hamlet, hear"
In Act I, Scene V, Hamlet learns a number of important facts from the speech made by the ghost. Here are some of the key points:
- Hamlet learns that this ghost is that of his recently-deceased father, the king. Moreover, his father is currently trapped in Purgatory (the place between Heaven and Hell) because he must do penance for the sins he committed while he was alive.
- The ghost claims that he was not bitten by a venomous snake, as the rumors stated. In fact, he was murdered by Hamlet's uncle while taking his afternoon nap. The murder weapon was a vial of poison which was poured into his ear and quickly began to attack his blood.
- The murderer then went on to seduce Hamlet's mother, "the seeming-virtuous queen," and married her.