What does the ghost tell Hamlet to do in the early part of Hamlet?

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jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In Act I Sc. V of Hamlet, the ghost of Hamlet's father speaks to Hamlet.

The ghost tells Hamlet to do three things.

a) The ghost informs him that he was not killed by a snake bite, as most people were led to believe, but rather was killed by his brother Claudius, who now is married to Hamlet's mother and is King.  The ghost tells Hamlet to revenge this "most foul, strange, and unnatural" murder.

This task is, of course, the one that Hamlet hesitates to do throughout the play.

b) The Ghost says to Hamlet that he should not let his "soul contrive(90)
Against [his] mother aught."  In other words, he should do no harm to his mother, even though she has acted treacherously by marrying her husband's murderer.

c) Before the Ghost leaves, he says to Hamlet, "Remember me."  The meaning of this phrase is debatable.  Is it a new directive, in which the Ghost commands Hamlet to always revere his memory?  Or is the Ghost just telling Hamlet that he should remember to carry out the instructions that he has already given him?

rienzi's profile pic

rienzi | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

The Ghost tells Hamlet 3 things:

1. revenge his foul and most unatural murder

2. taint not thy mind... nor contrive against thy mother aught

3. remember me (the father's spirit)

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