What is the mood at the opening of Hamlet?

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The mood at the opening of Hamlet is one of suspicion set in place by the motif of watching. The Sentinels wait for the Ghost of King Hamlet to reappear and their worst suspicions will be realized - that foul play is indeed afoot. Shakespeare uses the opening scene to underscore the continuing suspicions of young Hamlet concerning his father's murder intertwined with the motif that nothing or no one will be able to go 'unwatched' in Hamlet's "prison-house" world. Hamlet watches Claudius and Gertrude, and Polonious has spies upon his son and is murdered watching Gertrude and Hamlet. Hamlet employs players to watch Claudius watching a play to uncover his guilt, and all seems to be put into motion because of the Ghost in the opening scene.

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In one word? Tense.

In a few more words? Scared out of their minds. These are experienced guards who have seen battle. They know what to do with physical danger. However, a ghost has been appearing. This period was much more intensely Christian than modern times, and believed more intensely in ghosts and the supernatural in general. A ghost was both a serious threat and a sign that something was wrong.

Greg

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As the play Hamlet opens, what is the mood?

The opening of this classical play is one of confusion. It is ominous as the opening line asks the question of "Who's there?" The characters are almost hysterical in there anxiousness. It lets the audience know that something is very wrong in the setting. This opening question is very important throughout the play as the protagonist, Hamlet, must always be asking himself the very same question, "Who's there". He is in an identity crisis as he does not know who he is. Is he the loyal son of King Hamlet. Is he the Prince of Denmark. Should he be the avenging son of a murdered king, or the loyal prince to the new King? Is he mad or just pretending to get an advantage over his enemies? Should he be an avenging murderous prince or a loyal stepson to his uncle?

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