When Hamlet's father, the king of Denmark, dies suddenly, supposedly of a snakebite in his garden, Hamlet is devastated but also suspicious. Two months have passed since the death, and Hamlet still grieves. His mother, Gertrude, and his new stepfather (also his father's brother), Claudius, confront him in act 1, scene 2. Claudius asks Hamlet, “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” Gertrude counsels him to “cast thy nighted colour off,” for Hamlet is still wearing the black of mourning, and move on with his life.
Hamlet, however, responds that his dark clothing reflects his internal grief, but Claudius tells him that his father is gone, and the time for mourning is over. Hamlet's extreme grief is now a fault and even an insult to his father. Hamlet makes a show of giving in, but in the soliloquy that follows, he announces that if God had not decreed against suicide, he would seriously consider it. Hamlet also reveals that he is upset over more than just his father's death. He is angry, too, that his mother married his uncle not even two months after his father was placed in his grave. In Hamlet's eyes, this is incest and betrayal, yet he must remain silent.
When Hamlet meets his father's ghost a few scenes later, he indicates that he is having another reaction to his father's death besides grief and anger. He is suspicious that there is more to the king's demise than an accidental snakebite. The ghost tells Hamlet that he actually died of poison at the hand of Claudius. Hamlet in turn exclaims, “O my prophetic soul!” He has been wondering, and now he knows. His grief remains, but now his primary emotion becomes a desire for revenge.