Period 3, AP English Literature
How does Shakespeare employ diction, stichomythia, syntax, and stage directions to convince the audience that the ghost is real?
As Bernardo is recounting the story of the conditions in which the ghost appeared, Shakespeare uses the stage directions and literally writes “Enter GHOST.” This is the most obvious way to show that the Ghost is actually appearing and that the night guards are not just imagining things.
“MARCELLUS Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour, With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.” The word choice Shakespeare uses to describe the king, such as in this example with martial gives an accurate description of the king to Horatio. The image of the ghost reminded Horatio of a time the king went to battle. Martial means anything related to war or a warrior.
Shakespeare uses stichomythia when the ghost appears to Marcellus, Horatio, and Barnardo for the second time and they attempt to communicate with it. “MARCELLUS Shall I strike at it with my partisan? HORATIO Do, if it will not stand. BARNARDO 'Tis here. HORATIO 'Tis here. MARCELLUS 'Tis gone.” As they attempt to speak with it, they get desperate to find out what is the cause for it appearing, and almost come to the point of attacking it.
“MARCELLUS We do it wrong, being so majestical, To offer it the show of violence, For it is, as the air, invulnerable, And our vain blows malicious mockery.” The diction…