Act I – Scene.iv
Hamlet meets with Horatio and Marcellus on the battlements of the castle.
They can hear the revelry from the castle below and the Prince disapproves
of the King’s drunkenness. He considers that this reflects badly on all Danes.
Just then, the ghost arrives.
Hamlet wonders if the ghost ‘airs from heaven or blasts from hell?’
Does the devil take on his father’s appearance?
Hamlet recognizes the ghost as his father and asks the ghost to speak. The ghost beckons Hamlet to follow and his comrades ask him to be cautious. Hamlet follows.
We see another aspect of Claudius’ character in that he
has a weakness for wine and revelry. Again, this fits in with Hamlet’s view that he is a beast, a goat, which has an immoral side.
This particular speech, which is known as ‘The dram of evil’ has a number of
important features, the main one being that the King and what he does represents the Danish people. Claudius’ behavior embarrasses Hamlet, because if Claudius is sinful, so are all the people.