Ghost of King Hamlet

[This is an annotated list of all appearances and all mentions of both King Hamlet and his Ghost.]

'Hamlet and the Ghost" by Henry Fuseli

Brian Blessed as the Ghost of King Hamlet

Patrick Stewart as King Hamlet's Ghost

Patrick Allen as King Hamlet's Ghost

"What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?" (1.1.21). Marcellus and Barnardo try to convince Horatio that they really have seen a ghost, and in a few moments, the Ghost appears. [Scene Summary]
"Such was the very armor he had on / When he the ambitious Norway Combated" (1.1.60-61). Horatio tells the story of how King Hamlet defeated the King of Norway. [Scene Summary]
"But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!" (1.1.126) The second appearance of the Ghost to Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo. [Scene Summary]
"Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death / The memory be green" (1.2.1-2). Claudius, the new King of Denmark, justifies his quick marriage to the widowed Queen. [Scene Summary]
"So excellent a king" (1.2.139). Hamlet, in his first soliloquy, praises his father, describes the loving relationship between his mother and father, and expresses his disgust at his new "father"--his uncle. [Scene Summary]
"My father!--methinks I see my father" (1.2.184). Hamlet says this just before Horatio tells him about the ghost. When Horatio asks "Where, my lord?" Hamlet replies "in my mind's eye," and goes on to praise his father: "He was a man, take him for all in all, / I shall not look on his like again." Horatio then tells Hamlet about the Ghost's appearance, and says that he had "A countenance more / In sorrow than anger" (1.2.231-232). [Scene Summary]
"Angels and ministers of grace defend us! / Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd . . . ." (1.4.39-40). These are Hamlet's first words when he first sees the Ghost. A little later Horatio will warn Hamlet that the Ghost could "assume some other horrible form" and drive him into madness. Thus both men assume that what they are seeing could be some evil spirit that has taken on the form of Hamlet's dead father. [Scene Summary]
"Mark me" (1.5.2), says the Ghost, once he is alone with Hamlet. "Mark me" means not only "listen to me," but also, "look at me, and pay close attention." The Ghost identifies himself as "thy father's spirit" (1.5.9), tells how he was murdered, denounces Gertrude, and receives a vow of revenge from Hamlet. [Scene Summary]
"Swear" (1.5.149). According to Shakespeare's stage directions, this is what "Ghost cries [i.e., calls out] under the stage" when Hamlet is trying to get Horatio and Marcellus to swear secrecy. [Scene Summary]
"What it should be, / More than his father's death" (2.2.7-8). The King tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he can't think what it is that's bothering Hamlet, other than his father's death. By sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to find out what's really wrong with Hamlet, the King suggests that no one could really mourn for his father as long as Hamlet has. [Scene Summary]
"I doubt it is no other but the main; / His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage" (2.2.56-57), says Gertrude when the King asks her if she thinks that Polonius really has discovered the source of Hamlet's strange behavior. [Scene Summary]
"[I] can say nothing; no, not for a king, / Upon whose property and most dear life / A damn'd defeat was made" (2.2.569-571), says Hamlet in his second soliloquy. But a few moments later he speculates that "The spirit that I have seen / May be the devil" (2.2.598-599). [Scene Summary]
"One scene of [The Murder of Gonzago] comes near the circumstance / Which I have told thee of my father's death" (3.2.76-77), explains Hamlet to Horatio. A little later in the scene, Hamlet asks, "What should a man do but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours" (3.2.125-127). Ophelia tells Hamlet that it's really been "twice two months." [Scene Summary]
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; / It hath the primal eldest curse upon't, / A brother's murder" (3.3.36-38), says the King as he is trying to pray. [Scene Summary]
"Mother, you have my father much offended" (3.4.10), says Hamlet to his mother as she tries to scold him for his behavior toward the King. Later in the scene he makes her sit down and says, "Look here, upon this picture, and on this, / The counterfeit presentment of two brothers" (3.4.53-54). He then proceeds to compare his father, who was like a god, to his uncle, who is a "murderer and villain." [Scene Summary]
"How stand I then, / That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd" (4.4.56-57), says in a soliloquy, as he once again asks himself why he has yet to take revenge on King Claudius. [Scene Summary]
In the last scene of the play, Hamlet asks Horatio if he isn't justified in killing King Claudius, "He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother" (5.2.64). But when Horatio agrees that he is justified, it turns out that Hamlet doesn't have a plan for revenging his father's death. [Scene Summary]