How does Hamlet's mood change in Act 1, scene ii, from the time that Horatio arrives, to the end of the scene? I can more or less grasp his feelings, but what really causes that, and what is...

How does Hamlet's mood change in Act 1, scene ii, from the time that Horatio arrives, to the end of the scene?

I can more or less grasp his feelings, but what really causes that, and what is really  going through in his mind?

Expert Answers
blacksheepunite eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By the end of this scene Hamlet has heard from Horatio about the appearance of his father's ghost. Hamlet rightly interprets the ghost as a sign that something is awry, "all is not well". He suspects that the appearance of his father's ghost is an indication of "foul play" (and his father may have been murdered).Prior to this, Hamlet just seems ornery. He doesn't like the fact that Claudius has married his mother--it was, after all, far too soon. He doesn't believe Claudius' claim that he has married Gertrude because they are ar war and he doesn't want their enemies to think they're weak. Hamlet picks at both Claudius and his mother with his wit, but does not truly confront them. We know he is depressed because his mother speaks of it, as does Claudius, saying that he appears to be too obsessed with his father's death. Hamlet says that what he feels is true grief, and that implies that the new king and his mother are merely playing the parts of grieving relations (he's right). Hamlet is very much alone here, and receives no sympathy from those who should be offering it first. Instead of empathy, he is chastised to the point where he is even told that his excess mourning is disrespectful to God (because a true believer would know that his father was in heaven and happier). When Hamlet hears of the ghost, he is vindicated in a sense, because he now knows--and others do as well--that something is as wrong as he feels it is. 

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Hamlet

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