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The Ghost in Hamlet Messenger of Earthly Justice The Ghost in Hamlet is no messenger of Divine Justice but rather a messenger determined to convince Hamlet to pursue its personal justice The Ghosts appearance is persuasive but Hamlet is right to avoid jumping to conclusions about its demand It is important for Hamlet to distinguish between its urgent request and what may lie beneath it The Ghosts speeches emphasize human sins and mirror the Seven Deadly Sins of the human world The dead king is as imperfect as Claudius and shares in his sins The Ghost is therefore human not divine and the revenge it seeks reflects this world not the next The Ghosts request for vengeance is a problem for Hamlet Hamlet reasons that the vision could be an honest ghost Iiv151 or it just as easily may be the devil and the devil hath power IIii610 The Ghost directs Hamlet to revenge when thou shalt hear Iv11 The Ghost yet to be identified is already demanding vengeance It claims to be Hamlets fathers spirit Iv13 Thus the apparition demands Hamlets paternal and family loyalty If thou didst ever thy dear father love-- Iv27 Such demands are not divine but personal God is not invoked King Hamlets soul is merely an imperfect essence doomed for a certain term to walk the night Iv14 He is in Purgatory and is a sinner himself Thus was I sleeping by a brothers hand Of life of crown of queen at once dispatched Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin Unhouseled disappointed unaneled No reckoning made but sent to my account With all my imperfections on my head Iv79-84 A messenger of heavenly justice may be a form of an angel or religious spirit seeking justice on Gods behalf However King Hamlets commands are earthly angry and envious That incestuous that adulterate beast With witchcraft of his wit with traitorous gifts-- O wicked
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