Is Hamlet correct when he says "it is an honest ghost"?
The Ghost in *Hamlet* claims to be Hamlet's father's spirit released from Purgatory. Is it possible that the Ghost is lying? Has it been sent from Hell to stir up mischief in Elsinore? (The play does end with a body count of eight.)
Literature instructor, specializing in Shakespeare
Horatio is terrified when Hamlet goes after the ghost -- he's afraid of the ghost's intentions. "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" -- and that can be many things. The impending war? Claudius ill-gotten gains? Did the queen have anything to do with her husband's death? The appearance of a supernatural ghost? Hamlet's state of mind? Nothing is certain. All loyalties must be questioned (who is spying on whom?). Anyone could be lying for their own benefit. However, I would suggest that Hamlet isn't actually talking about whether or not the ghost is lying. When he says "it is an honest ghost" he means it is a REAL ghost. The supernatural REALLY HAS come to earth. That's how crazy the state of Denmark is after the death of the king. Ghost are walking.