Why is there such an emphasis on secrecy with regards to the Ghost in act 1 of William Shakespeare's Hamlet?
In act 1, scene 2, Hamlet says "And whatsoever else shall hap tonight, / Give it an understanding, but no tongue". In act 1, scene 5, Hamlet is reluctant to tell the guardsmen what the ghost has told him.
Horatio: What news, my lord?
Hamlet: Oh, wonderful!
Horatio: Good my lord, tell it.
Hamlet: No. You'll reveal it.
Does it not seem like Hamlet is teasing them slightly? and if so, why? He knows the guardsmen are interested to find out more about the ghost and it seems perverse to try to deny them the opportunity of knowing more since they were the ones that informed Hamlet about the ghost in the first place.
It is as if Hamlet is revealing information gradually. But why?
First he says there is an "arrant knave" in Denmark and then to Horatio he says "touching this vision here,/ It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you."
Isn't he already saying too much if he's meant to be keeping this from them? It as if he knows something and he is bursting to tell them.
Again, he asks "never make known what you have seen tonight". The guardsmen actually have to swear upon Hamlet's sword.
Hamlet: Indeed, upon my swod, indeed.
Ghost: (cries under stage) Swear!
Hamlet:...Consent to swear.
So my question is why the secrecy...is it to do with how society would have perceived them if they made these claims saying they had seen a ghost, i.e like a madmen..but then again were they not very superstitious (?)
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