Why doesnt the Ghost return in Shakespeare's Hamlet? What is it doing for the remaining 80% of the play?
- 3 months agoFavorite Answer
sit there because he needed to use the bathroom
- AthenaLv 73 months ago
Hamlet's father is there to move the plot forward.
He has no other function besides that so he is not needed.
- u_bin_calledLv 73 months ago
If I remember correctly, the Ghost's last appearance is 11 scenes into the play, after which there are 9 scenes left, so the "remainder" is roughly half. Beyond that, the timing of his last appearance thematically marks a shift in Hamlet himself.
If you notice, Hamlet is very much "in his own head" for most of the play's first 3 acts, which also contain his most-famous soliloquies. The Ghost's final appearance in Act 3 begins with him chiding Hamlet for being so slow to act and questioning his character. The scene ends with Hamlet killing Polonius in error, thinking he was the king in hiding.
In effect, the Ghost's function was to spur Hamlet to action. Once Hamlet acted, the Ghost's function was done (as an aside, notice that the directions indicate the Ghost is wearing "night clothes" in this scene as opposed to the suit of armor in his previous appearances, foreshadowing his "retirement").
From a thematic standpoint, you will also notice that Hamlet is more about action in the remaining acts and less paralyzed by "the pale cast of thought." Even his remaining monologues reflect more insight than insecurity, and by the end of Act IV he understands that his duty for vengeance outweighs his concerns over the consequences ("..from this time forth my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth" - IV/4).
In short, the Ghost's exit marks the point in the play when focus on the spiritual, philosophical and moral shifts to the worldly, pragmatic and Hamlet's own personal notion of justice.
- VerityLv 73 months ago
It's a good question.
But in that it is generally accepted that playwright/actor/theatre manager
William Shakespeare himself played the ghost, he as probably very busy