The Tradgedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark" contains, as is often the case in Shakespeare's plays, a strong theme of appearances being at odds with reality. Hidden corruption, spies and trickery consume Denmark. This atmosphere intensifies as the play proceeds.
The play begins with the question who goes there?'(I,¡), thus introducing the theme of concelement from the outset. The opening dialogue between Barnardo and Francisco, two senitals creates the impression that the situation in Denmark is not good. The immediate suspicion injected into the play creates an uneasy, distrustful atmosphere. Line 7 (I,¡) informs the watcher that it is twelve, presumably midnight, this injects a paranormal feeling into the play, twelve traditionally being known as the witching hour. The knowledge that it is midnight also enables the reader to better understand the question posed to Francisco to Barnardo in the opening line of the play; it may be assumed that the darkest cloak of night had concealed from view the form and therefore the identity of the senital. It can be concluded that from the commencement of the play the concept of concealment is instigated, as is the theme of discovering truth, in doing so casting off the cloak of deception.
Act 1, Scene I includes talk between senitals concerning a thing
[or an] apparition',(I,¡) which is, according to Barnardo In the same shape like the King that's dead', (I.i) but in Marcellus's opinion not like the King?' (I.i). The ghost does not identify itself which leads to further speculation; Horatio questions it, enlisting it to speak' and distinguish itself. Of the ghost's identity the senitals are left ignorant, to them it appears that it is the ghost of old Hamlet, the vision, dressed in battle costume implanting the idea that something is amiss in Denmark. Desperate to ascertain a true identification and understanding of the ghost's motives the senitals agree to consult Hamlet. The...