In Shakespeare's Hamlet, how are Horatio and Marcellus feeling as they watch Hamlet follow the ghost into the darkness?
Horatio, even though he has seen the ghost, says “He waxes desperate with imagination,” and Marcellus states that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
Neither Horatio nor Marcellus, in short, know what to think about what they are seeing. As the ghost beckons Hamlet, they beg him not to go, even trying to physically restrain him. Horatio's statement that Hamlet "waxes desperate with imagination" suggests that Hamlet is so curious and desirous of talking to his father's spirit that he is willing to risk his life. They are certain that the ghost represents some sort of evil omen. Horatio has already alluded to the night before Julius Caesar's death, when ghosts "did squeak and gibber in the streets," and had speculated that the ghost's appearance has something to do with the possible invasion of Fortinbras. Though they struggle to make sense of what they are witnessing, they seem to share the conviction that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark." The ghost must be an indicator that something terrible is going on in the kingdom. The ghost's conversation with Hamlet reveals how correct they are.