Hamlet: Quotes from Act 1 Scene 5

Ghost: ‘My hour is almost come,/ When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames,/ Must render up myself.’ The ghost can only stay for the hour of midnight, the witching hour, after which he returns to ‘flames’ which we are to assume references purgatory.
Ghost: ‘I am thy father’s spirit,/ Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,/ and for the day confined to fast in fires,/ Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature,/ Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid/ To tell the secrets of my prison house,’ The ghost convinces Hamlet he is his father who is speaking to him from purgatory. He is on a mission to right a wrong- his murder, and is burning away his sin hell fire. Hamlet’s mission therefore is to aid his father in ascension to heaven.
Ghost: ‘Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.’ The ghost speaks in third person which adds to the theory that the ghost is not actually Hamlet’s father. The ghost demands that Hamlet seek revenge.
Ghost: ‘And dulle shouldst thou be than the fat weed/ That roots itself in ease on the Lethe Wharf.’ ‘fat weed’, the idea of weeds and corruption go hand in hand- it is an image of an organism overcoming other ones so as to thrive, just as Claudius overtook the late King Hamlet. It is also a reference to Denmark more widely, suggesting that Denmark is full of weeds, of deceptive megalomaniacs, and needs to be weeded by Hamlet.
Ghost: ‘A serpent stung me, so the whole ear of Denmark.’
Ghost: ‘That serpent that did sting thy father’s life,/ Now wears his crown.’ The Ghost tells Hamlet that it was Claudius who killed him.
Ghost: ‘ Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,/ With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,/ O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power/ So to seduce.” The ghost brings in the idea of incest and talk of his wife as having a weak will- he had perceived her to be stronger, but she has fallen under the spell of Claudius.
Ghost: ‘Let not the royal bed of Denmark be/ A couch for luxury and damned incest.’ The imagery the ghost is making is one of inherent corruption and disturbance to the state of Denmark. The issue is not merely personal them but also political.
Hamlet: ‘O most pernicious woman!/ O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain.’ Hamlet’s view of his mother becomes her clear- akin to him stating ‘frailty, thy name is woman!’, he shows here that he does not think highly of her.
Hamlet: ‘Never make known what you have seen to night.’ Hamlet tells everyone to stay quiet, that the secrecy over the ghost may give him an advantage in his battles of revenge to come. The ghost and Hamlet repeatedly ask people to ‘swear’, as if paranoid that they will not keep their word.
Hamlet: ‘The time is out of joint: O, cursed spite,/ That I was ever born to set it right!’ Hamlet laments that such a task has fallen upon him, and ponders if his purpose in life was to right this exact wrong. The time is ‘out of joint’ and it is up to Hamlet to but it back in joint.

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