The Character Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The Character Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the confidant Horatio is created to serve a number of different purposes. Horatio is a flat character. He is a loyal, obedient, and trustworthy companion to Hamlet. His character does not undergo any significant transformation throughout the play, except that he serves as a witness of the death of Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude. Horatio's role in the play seems to be as a utilitarian character that Shakespeare created in order to heighten the suspense of the play. Also for Horatio to be Hamlet's ear so as to appease the audience's ear, and to communicate the moral of the play. Horatio serves often as the voice of reason, for instance; he is skeptical of the watchman's testimony that a ghost appeared during their watch in the previous night. Marcellus says of the watchman's testimony, "Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy, / And will not let belief take hold of him" (1.1.23-4). Horatio believes the watchmen only when he witnesses the ghost and even then is still skeptical. He is also the voice of reason when he asks Hamlet to restrain himself from meeting the ghost. He is afraid that Hamlet will hurt himself or go mad (1.4.63-91), finally telling Hamlet, "Be ruled, you shall not go" (1.4.81). Hamlet often seeks verification of events from Horatio as well. Horatio agrees with Hamlet, in 1.4, that the night is cold (1.4.2), and verifies Hamlet's belief that the ghost is "wondrous strange" (1.4.164). Horatio does not exaggerate about the length of the stay of the ghost. In 1.2, Horatio tells Hamlet that the ghost stayed in his presence for possibly "a hundreth" (1.2.137), followed by Marcellus and Barnardo's utterance, "Longer, longer" (1.2... ... middle of paper ... ...he allegiances for power that lead to death. Horatio is the only victor, for he did not plot, and remains alive to tell this tragedy to others. Horatio is Shakespeare's utilitarian character. Horatio serves as a foil to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, prompts Hamlet to disclose his feelings, gives vital information in the form of exposition (verbal or in a letter) or verification of Hamlet's reality, and helps to build the suspense of the play. The only emotional aspect of his character is that he remains alive, and serves as a vehicle for Shakespeare's moral of Hamlet. Works Cited and Consulted Berman, Allison. "We Only Find Ourselves." Hamlet reaction papers. Wynnewood: FCS, 2000. Lugo, Michael. "The Character Horatio." Hamlet reaction papers. Wynnewood: FCS, 2000. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. 1600? Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Signet Classic, 1998
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