Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What possible reasons for the ghost's appearance are discussed? Hamlet, Act I

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Horatio immediately suspects that the ghost's appearance "bodes some strange eruption to our state" (1.1.68). His first concern, then, is that the ghost means bad news for the country; he is not sure what kind of bad news it will be, but the appearance of the dead king wearing his armor seems, at the very least, not good. Next, Horatio grows concerned that the ghost's appearance has to do with the movements of the son of the old, defeated king of Norway. He says,

Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That had a stomach in 't, which is no other —
As it doth well appear unto our state —
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost (1.1.94-103).

They are concerned that the ghost's appearance signals that some attack from young Fortinbras is imminent. Young Fortinbras is apparently getting a...

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