Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Ghost and Gertrude

The ghost appears to Hamlet to prevent him from insulting his mother to greatly. He doesn’t want Hamlet to hurt her. It is different from other appearances because he appears in front of other people and engages Hamlet in conversation, in front of his mother! Hamlet, Horatio, Guildenstern, and Rosencrantz saw him then, now only Hamlet sees him now. His message to Hamlet is that he needs to be more “revengeful” and his anger should be sharpened by the innocence of his mother.however, my question is, why can Gertrude not see the ghost when Hamlet's friends can?

3 comments:

Lindsay A said...

Maybe the fact that now only Hamlet can see the ghost is evidence of Hamlet's insanity. Many critics think that Hamlet is actually insane rather than just pretending to be insane. Perhaps the appearance of the ghost only to Hamlet is Hamlet seeing things that aren't actually there as he delves deeper and deeper into insanity.

Michell D said...

But Lindsay, the ghost also appears to Horatio, Barnardo, Franciso, and others.I think the fact that Gertrude cannot see the ghost is further evidence that it is actually the ghost of Hamlet sr., and not just some demon trying to cause trouble. Maybe he hides himself from Gertrude so that she won't be overwhelmed with emotions. On the other hand it still could be a demon that doesn't want Gertrude to be able to identify the small differences between the real Hamlet and the Ghost's approximation. This critical crux can be seen from more than one angle at any given point, but I still think it is the real ghost of Hamlet sr., because that makes the most sense, and there is no definitive evidence otherwise.

TSHAH said...

I believe that Gertrude cannot see the ghost of Hamlet Sr. simply because he is a ghost. We talked about how this play by Shakespeare has distinct pagan qualities (as represented by the ghost), while at the same time it is rooted in Christianity (as seen when Ophelia's burial is debated given that she committed suicide). In this case, the pagan influence could possibly be prevailing over the Christian influence, allowing the ghost to selectively choose who he want to be seen by. Hamlet Sr. initial sightings by Hamlet's friends caused them to approach Hamlet about the situation they were in. Maybe Hamlet Sr. only presented himself to Hamlet's friends because he knew they would bring him and Hamlet together.