Hamlet 1:4

Act 1, Scene 4: “The Platform”

Summary: After discussing why the king and all of Denmark are drunks, Hamlet finally sees the ghost. The ghost beckons Hamlet to follow it somewhere private, and his two companions try to stop him, fearing it’s a trick to kill him or make him go crazy (or both). Finally Hamlet threatens them, and they have no choice but to let him go, but they secretly follow.

Reaction: I liked this scene. It was humorous–or at least I thought it was–and exciting, and it made me eager to see what happens next.

Prediction: Either Hamlet learns something earth shattering from the ghost, or it causes him to go crazy and throw himself off a cliff. Either way, I sense a tip in the scales toward tragedy soon.

Why This Book Is a Classic: Great threats: “I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me.” (“Lets” here means “stops,” not “allows.”) And the famous line: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” which makes Marcellus, the guard, a role worth playing.

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