Literature 101 Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Do it for Me, Son Do you think the King manipulates his son into accepting his order of revenge? 

Expert Answers info

clane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write658 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and Law and Politics

I don't know, on the one hand I do think he was manipulated into the revenge because his loyalty and pride for his country, Hamlet felt, would be called into question if he did not carry out the orders.

On the other hand, I kind of think that Hamlet wanted a reason to go after Claudius, he needed someone's approval and a ghost of his father was as good a reason as any to go after the uncle who betrayed him and took his father and essentially his mother from him. I really feel that Hamlet would have been ready to seek vengeance, but because he was a Prince, he couldn't without some sort of royal order. A prince can't very well represent his country by going around offing the king, but if he had royal orders to do so then he could do so virtually guilt free.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Kendall Bartell, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor

bookB.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University

bookM.A. from National University


calendarEducator since 2004

write232 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

Look at the language the Ghost uses:

"If thou didst ever thy dear father love--"

Yup, I'd say the Ghost was definitely making sure Hamlet did what he wanted. He goes on, talking about how he was cut off from life, still with all of his sins upon him (not being given the chance of Last Rites). A horrible thought for a grieving son, to imagine his father stuck in purgatory because of the selfish cruelty of his uncle! Then, the clencher...

"If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest!"

Hamlet had just gotten done talking about the awful state of the Danish court before the Ghost appeared - how they were mocked by other nations because of the gluttony and drinking excess that was happening under Claudius' rule. The Ghost then appeals to Hamlet's sense of national pride - Don't let the other kings and countries have something else to laugh at us about! Don't let your uncle continue this incestuous relationship in the royal bed of Denmark!

The Ghost definitely knew how to get Hamlet on his side.

Yea, that is a very potent "if". This is where I can't get Bloom out of my head. I can't see the paternity of the ghost as a sure thing. if Claudius is the real father, or if it is in question it certainly deepens that "if".

The autobiographical  reading regarding the death of his son Hamnet, is very rich as well. Gives this dramatic relationship more depth as well. Apparently while Will was away, another man was around the  house with wifey and kids. And didn't Will himself play the role of the Ghost in many productions?

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

malibrarian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write722 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

Look at the language the Ghost uses:

"If thou didst ever thy dear father love--"

Yup, I'd say the Ghost was definitely making sure Hamlet did what he wanted. He goes on, talking about how he was cut off from life, still with all of his sins upon him (not being given the chance of Last Rites). A horrible thought for a grieving son, to imagine his father stuck in purgatory because of the selfish cruelty of his uncle! Then, the clencher...

"If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest!"

Hamlet had just gotten done talking about the awful state of the Danish court before the Ghost appeared - how they were mocked by other nations because of the gluttony and drinking excess that was happening under Claudius' rule. The Ghost then appeals to Hamlet's sense of national pride - Don't let the other kings and countries have something else to laugh at us about! Don't let your uncle continue this incestuous relationship in the royal bed of Denmark!

The Ghost definitely knew how to get Hamlet on his side.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2005

write3,513 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Hamlet arrives home having about a month to be used to the death of his father.  It is all new to him, then, when the ghost shows up with news of an unnatural death--not what was originally reported.  Is it any wonder, then, that Hamlet questions the truth of it?  The ghost, too, is NOT Hamlet's father.  Had his flesh and blood father told him to kill someone, I don't have any doubts that Hamlet would have taken less than four and one half acts to stimulate himself to action.  It's different when the order comes from an apparition that may or may not be from the source he claims.  Therefore, yes, I believe manipulation was necessary to convince Hamlet to seek the revenge he wants.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial