Why does Hamlet doubt the honesty of the ghost in Hamlet

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Prince Hamlet is depicted as an insecure, conscientious individual who is very religious and fears that seeking revenge on King Claudius could potentially damn his soul. It is important to note that many of Hamlet's significant decisions are associated with his religious beliefs, which is why he refrains from committing suicide. In act 1, scene 5, Hamlet speaks to his father's ghost and learns of Claudius's treachery. The Ghost then instructs Hamlet to avenge his death by murdering the king, which is something Hamlet vows to do. Later on, Hamlet becomes hesitant to take action and begins to doubt the Ghost's message. As a moral, conscientious person, Prince Hamlet does not want to risk damning his soul by unjustly committing regicide and is also overwhelmed with complicated emotions, which is why he begins to question the validity of the Ghost's message.

In his soliloquy toward the end of act 2, scene 2, Prince Hamlet mentions,

The spirit that I have seen
May be a devil, and the devil hath power...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1071 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on