Sc. 5, Lines 148–170

Sc. 5, Lines 148–170: Infer why Hamlet doesn’t tell the others what the Ghost has told him and why he swears them to silence. When the Ghost speaks, many critics believe that only Hamlet hears the Ghost and that he is so agitated by this point that the Ghost saying “Swear” is an aural hallucination. Read this scene closely, finding evidence that only Hamlet hears the Ghost.

Horatio. What is ’t, my lord? We will.

Hamlet. Never make known what you have seen tonight.

Horatio/Marcellus. My lord, we will not.

Hamlet. Nay, but swear ’t.

Horatio. In faith, my lord, not I.

Marcellus. Nor I, my lord, in faith.

Hamlet. Upon my sword.

Marcellus. We have sworn, my lord, already.

Hamlet. Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.

Ghost[cries under the stage]. Swear.

Hamlet. Ha, ha, boy, sayst thou so? Art thou there, truepenny? Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage. Consent to swear.

Horatio.Propose the oath, my lord.

Hamlet. Never to speak of this that you have seen, Swear by my sword.

Ghost [beneath]. Swear.

Hamlet. Hic et ubique? Then we’ll shift our ground Come hither, gentlemen, And lay your hands again upon my sword. Swear by my sword Never to speak of this that you have heard.

Ghost [beneath]. Swear by his sword.

Hamlet. Well said, old mole. Canst work i’ th’ earth so fast? A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.

Horatio. O day and night, but this is wondrous strange.

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The Ghost asked Hamlet to keep his revenge a secret. I think his friends actually do hear the Ghost yell "swear". At leasr this is the effect I have scene in many movies and stage productions of Hamlet.