Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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Shakespeare's Use of Cause and Effect in Hamlet William Shakespeare tells the time-tested tale of family deceit, revenge, and heroism in his play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. However, one must wonder if any of these events would or could have taken place had the Ghost never appeared to Hamlet and told him of his own demise. In this paper, I will be analyzing Act I scene iv and how the conversation between Hamlet and the Ghost sets off a juggernaut chain of events that never would have happened had the conversation never taken place. I will also show how clever Shakespeare was in positioning this scene where he did to dramatize its implications.

This scene begins immediately with Hamlet and the Ghost in conversation. It is important to note that this is the very first time we hear the Ghost talk. He never spoke to Marcellus and Horatio when they saw him before.

Hamlet is also unsure that it is even his father's ghost until he tells him so. But even more important than this revelation, was the Ghost's revelation of the fact that Claudius did indeed murder him. This singular event dramatically changes the course of events that follow. This changes the play from being one about a man set out to avenge his father's death, to one about a man who has been given a task by a ghost. It completely changes Hamlet's actions and the course of action that he takes.

The tone of this conversation is very important. Hamlet's reaction, "Oh God!"� (23) shows he is awestruck that he is talking to his father's Ghost and what he is telling him. What the Ghost tells him adds to his bitterness and adds fuel to his fire. The Ghost knows just what to...