While trying to explain all of Hamlet’s characters to my daughter I found another interesting spin I’d never considered.
Poor Francisco is in the play entirely to hand over the watch to Bernardo and Marcellus (and Horatio, but he’s not technically one of the guards).
How come one guy is being relieved by two?
Second question – do you think Francisco saw the ghost?
Think about it. He has no witnesses to back his story. Who is he going to tell? At least Marcellus and Bernardo have someone else with them so they can do that whole “Did you see what I just saw?” dance. But Francisco’s just out there by his lonesome with no one to talk to but himself.
I got a laugh out of the image of the ghost appearing before Francisco, and Francisco just staring blankly back at him. The ghost, who is here to get a message to Hamlet, gets more and more frustrated at Francisco’s refusal to tell anybody that he eventually throws up his hands and tries Marcellus and Bernardo. Meanwhile Francisco’s all, “Yeah, I’m not saying a word about this.”
You could even work it in here:
BERNARDO Have you had … quiet guard?
(wait for it…..wait for it…..) Not a mouse stirring.
“If you’re asking whether I saw the ghost of dead king Hamlet then no I most certainly did not thank you very much, I’m going to bed.”