* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team
Running Head: SHAKESPEARE’S GHOSTS
The Ghosts of Hamlet and MacBeth
Mrs. Margaret Guy
Shakespeare’s Ghosts 9
World Wide Web (1999) http://www.members.tripod.com/~spgraphics/index.html
Encarta (1998) CD-ROM Encyclopedia
Groliers (1997) CD-ROM Encyclopedia
Shakespeare’s Ghosts 2
The Ghosts of Hamlet and MacBeth
Shakespeare used ghosts in his plays to add flavor to them. He especially emphasized on the super naturals in the plays Hamlet and MacBeth. The ghosts in these plays were used to build up the structure of the plot.
In Hamlet the ghost is King Hamlet, Hamlet’s murdered father. The ghost appears four times throughout the play and is seen by many characters. Hamlet is the most influenced by the ghost, because it is his father and he is telling him to avenge his murderer. This influence by the ghost keeps the play going by becoming Hamlet’s driving force to vindicate his father’s murderer. The ghost infuriates Hamlet’s anger of his father’s murderer by telling him who it is. The murderer is Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and new stepfather. The ghost also tells Hamlet of how the murder was done. The ghost tells Hamlet to speak to his mother, but in this he tells Hamlet to be gentle and not to make any judgments because that is God’s job.
In MacBeth, Shakespeare used several super natural occurrences, for example a floating dagger, witches, prophetic apparitions, and Banquo’s ghost. These are a few examples to show the importance of super naturals in Shakespeare’s plays. In MacBeth the ghost is Banquo. Banquo was a general in MacBeth’s army. The two see three witches who tell them of there future. MacBeth’s future consist of becoming a king, but having no heirs to the throne. Banquo will not be king, but one of his descendants will be. MacBeth gets scared that Banquo’s sons will be kings. He hires murderers to kill Banquo and his sons. The
Shakespeare’s Ghosts 3
murderers kill Banquo, but his son manages to escape. While the murders are taking place MacBeth is hosting a banquet for Banquo. During the banquet Banquo’s ghost comes into the party and sits by MacBeth and says nothing. MacBeth sees this ghost and completely losses it. MacBeth cannot take the ghost’s presence any longer and yells for him to leave. none of the other guests see the ghost, therefore leading them to believe that MacBeth has gone insane in the membrane.
The differences in the ghosts in MacBeth and Hamlet differ greatly, as do the actions and reactions in which they cause. In Hamlet the ghost appears a few times and is seen by many people, it also makes requests for things to be done. In MacBeth the ghost is only seen by MacBeth and is never heard, it is there merely for intimidation. The reactions caused by the sight of the ghost differ. In Hamlet the ghost appears in full body armor dressed for battle and puts thought into young Hamlet’s head. His first thought is that the ghost is sent by an evil force, but soon disregards that idea. Hamlet then proceeds to carry out the ghosts request. King Hamlet’s ghost does not cause Hamlet to go insane as does Banquo’s ghost did to MacBeth.
The resemblances of the two ghost were mainly that both of the people represented by the ghosts had been wrongfully murdered. They both mainly influenced the main character of the play, kept the plot inline, and gave insight to the character.
In conclusion, the ghost in each play were one of the most important characters. The play would not have been as clear without there insight. Therefore, one should always listen to ghost, because they provide useful information.