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Thomas Wheeler

on 12 September 2018

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Transcript of Ghost

Catholic or Protestant
Hamlet is very much a play that reflects the anxieties of its time.

Written not long after the transition to Protestantism, there are major issues over the differences in belief that translate into the play.
What is Purgatory?
A Question of Existence
For Catholics, Purgatory was very real (Dante dedicates a whole book of the Divine Comedy to it!) but it was not an enjoyable place. Your sould would be worked/tortured/burned until it was free of sin. It was this place from which ghosts returned.

In the Protestant belief however, there was no purgatory. The soul waited in a space and timeless limbo until the judgement when all souls would either go to heaven or hell. For them, ghosts came from somewhere else.
A Force for Good or Bad
These contrasting afterlives had dire effects on the perception of ghosts.

For Catholics, a ghost was a returning spirit from purgatory aiming to solve a problem or ease the issues that prevented it from ascending to heaven.

For Protestants, ghosts came from somewhere much more sinister and only had one purpose: To trick, mislead and damn.
So Which is Which?
As we watch the play - consider all of the characters' reactions, and the claims of the ghost itself, to evaluate how these religious differences manifest in the plot.
The Ghost
Looking at the first appearance of the ghost, how do the characters react to it?

In what way does the ghost enable the exposition of the play?
L.O.- To analyse the impact of the Ghost's first appearance in Hamlet
- To evaluate the religious influence on the play.
Explore Williams’s presentation of hidden truths in
A Streetcar Named Desire
. You
relate your discussion to relevant contextual factors.
Prelude to Ghost
How does Shakespeare build tension before the first arrival of the Ghost? (up to Line 38)
Full transcript