What is Hamlet's reception of the ghost?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ghosts were not uncommon on the Elizabethan stage, and perhaps the most famous one is found in Shakespeare's Hamlet.  I'm going to assume you're referring to the first time Hamlet meets the Ghost, and I'm also assuming you're asking how Hamlet greeted or received the Ghost.  Even before he sees the Ghost of his father, Hamlet is eager to meet with him.  There is little doubt or skepticism, such as that expressed initially by Horatio, and Hamlet wants to talk to the Ghost wherever and whenever.  Once Hamlet is beckoned by the Ghost, Hamlet willingly follows despite the protests of his friends.  He listens respectfully and carefully to all the Ghost has to say, asking a few questions but mostly listening.  When the Ghost asks him to take revenge on Claudius for his murder, Hamlet readily commits himself to that course of action.  Hamlet is not afraid of the Ghost, he does not doubt the truthfulness of the Ghost (until later in the play, of course), and he is prepared to act on behalf of the Ghost.  What he does from there is a little less clear and direct; however, his initial reception of the Ghost is positive and instructive.

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Hamlet

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