In the opening scene of Hamlet is under an atmosphere of suspense and fear, darkness and gloom, and prepares the mind of the audience for the appearance of the mysterious and unknown. It strikes the keynote of the play. There is an uncanny sees of fear and a feeling of uncertainty in the exchange of words between Francisco and Bernardo. The dead silence and the bitter cold make Francisco ' sick at heart '. When Horatio and Marcellus, the 'rivals' of his watch, join Bernardo, they make anxious enquiries about the dreaded sight and apparition which had already appeared twice. All these hushed whispers in cold and dark midnight create the proper atmosphere for the advent of the sceptic Horatio dumbfound. He frankly confesses that it harrows him with fear and wonder. He summons up courage to question the ghost, but it vanishes.
They now speak about the state of uncertainty and imminent fear that pervaded the entire state of Denmark. The suggestion is that the king's spirit has come to give warning about the future danger. The ghost appears again and Horatio asks :
Speak to me:
If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid,
O, speak !
(act 1, scene -1)
But as the cock crows, the ghost disappears again. The entire scene has been written with a view to making the Ghost credible and convincing to the audience. It breathes an atmosphere of supernatural thrill and mystery and portends dark omens for the future.