February 25, 2015
1. What is the ghost’s status in the afterlife? What region in the universe is he describing when he says, (Act I, Scene V) “I am thy father’s spirit,/Doom’d 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”?
The ghost is merely another soul that is damned to walk the earth until his death is avenged and justice is served. The ghost is not yet an angel but is also not yet a demon, it can be concluded that Elder Hamlet is in purgatory.
2. What is significant about Wittenberg, where Hamlet goes to school?
Wittenberg is significant in Hamlet because the university is Lutheran and Hamlet would have returned to the catholic society of Elsinore impregnated by a ‘new philosophy’ from the university. Hamlet returns from Wittenberg with the protestant idea of individual responsibility while Claudius is on the other side of catholic culture- be merry, eat, and drink for tomorrow we confess. When, in the prayer scene, he tries to come to terms with himself, outside the confession box in the protestant way, he can’t proceed.
3. What is Hamlet suggesting when he says (Act I, Scene V) “The time is out of joint: O cursed spite, / That ever I was born to set it right!”?
Hamlet has just had a conversation with the Ghost, Elder Hamlet. The Ghost has told him that his uncle poisoned him and stole his crown, his life and his wife. The Ghost’s final words to Hamlet were “Adieu, remember me.” Hamlet feels it is his life’s duty to fulfill the Ghost’s challenge.
4. What might Shakespeare be suggesting by having only non-Danes like Horatio survive the end of the play, and the