Horatio and His Catalog of Ghosts Appearing Reasons

Subject: Literature
Pages: 2
Words: 292
Reading time:
< 1 min

Horatio and Marcellus have a conversation in the first scene of Hamlet – during their discussion the Ghost enters the scene. It is silent and does not inform anything them anything, but Horatio makes a conclusion about the Ghost being an omen of something dreadful coming to their province. He recollects the case of ghosts’ appearing in ancient Rome and the consequences to which it led:

“A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little are the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets”

“Hamlet” Shakespeare

Horatio explains by the example of the fall of Julius, which was an outstanding and grand event in itself, that the ghost came only in extraordinary cases; in addition, it was clear that the events would not promise anything good, and would become great grief and sorrow for all people involved in the horror – the scale of the tragedy promised to be tremendous:

“As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse”

Hamlet” Shakespeare

Horatio explained this opinion by the fact that the tragedy would be so striking that the dead were unable to keep silent knowing about the tragedy and tried to warn them alive against the drama, hoping for their ability to prevent it:

“And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen”

“Hamlet” Shakespeare