HAMLET- Act 1 Scene 1

Briefly describe the events of A1 S1. On the ramparts of the Danish castle Elsinore, the guardsman Barnardo relieves Francisco. The men are nervous, calling out “Who’s there?” Marcellus, another guard, and Horatio, a nobleman, arrive.A Ghost appears. It looks like the recently deceased Old Hamlet, King of Denmark. Horatio tries to speak to it, but it disappears.Horatio says the ghost might be warning of an attack. After all, the prince of Norway, Fortinbras, is raising an army to retake lands that Old Hamlet won in battle from Fortinbras’ father.The Ghost reappears but disappears again without speaking when the cock crows to greet the dawn. Horatio decides they should tell Hamlet, the dead King’s son, about the ghost.
What does the nervousness of the guards indicate? Nervous cries of “who’s there?” builds dread and develops theme of uncertain reality.Appearance vs. reality/ corruption, poison, death.
What does the appearance of the ghost indicate? The appearance of the ghost confirms something is not right in Denmark.”This bodes some strange eruption to our state.” Corruption, poison, death.
What theme is the ghost connected to in this scene? The ghost is connected immediately to the theme of revenge— his own revenge and Fortinbras’s. “young Fortinbras, Of unimproved mettle hot and full, Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there Sharked up a list of landless resolutes.” Religion, honour and revenge/ Poison, corruption, death.
How does their resolution to alert Hamlet foreshadow events later in the play? Every father/son relationship in the play leads to revenge.Religion, honour and revenge/ Poison, corruption, death.
How does the exit of the Ghost change the mood and thus the language? The language becomes more lyrical and poetic to create a sense of awe and wonder; “But look, the morn in russet mantle clad Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.”
How does A1 S1 initially present Claudius’s own corruption of Denmark? “Do not divide Sunday from the week” The men work on the Sabbath- suggests irreligious nature of Denmark now, which suggests corruption and negative change. Religion, honour and revenge/ Poison, corruption, death.
How is the exit of the Ghost significant? The ghost exists before the Cock crows- allusion to the death of Christ (who was betrayed before the cock crowed). This again suggests corruption and presents the ghost as daemon- like, or possibly a focus of uncertainty.
How does Marcellus’s observance contradict the notion of the daemon ghost? “…no spirit dares stir abroad… So hallow’d and gracious is this time.” This contradicts the earlier idea of the ghost, and when supplemented with its “fair and warlike form”, we are not presented with an image of deceit.
What do the contrasting views of the ghost reflect? Uncertainty, connecting to the theme of appearance vs reality- what is the true motive of the ghost?
How is the setting significant? The scene begins at night on the ramparts of a Castle. This immediately reflects the nature of the Ghost as “warlike” and the use of night gives an air of suspense or possibly death, due to the absence of light.
How does the Setting fit with the traditional ‘Revenge Tragedy’ format? The revenge tragedy often begins with a ghost who imparts wisdom to the characters to begin the area of interest.