In Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, the closest friend of the hero is a fellow-student from Wittenberg (Granville-Barker 93), an intelligent and understanding young man by the name of Horatio. This essay seeks to carefully present his character.
Marchette Chute in “The Story Told in Hamlet” describes Horatio’s part in the opening scene of the play:
The story opens in the cold and dark of a winter night in Denmark, while the guard is being changed on the battlements of the royal castle of Elsinore. For two nights in succession, just as the bell strikes the hour of one, a ghost has appeared on the battlements, a figure dressed in complete armor and with a face like that of the dead king of Denmark, Hamlet’s father. A young man named Horatio, who is a school friend of Hamlet, has been told of the apparition and cannot believe it, and one of the officers has brought him there in the night so that he can see it for himself.
The hour comes, and the ghost walks. (35)
Horatio, frightened, futilely confronts the ghost:
What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, speak! (1.1)
Maynard Mack in “The World of Hamlet” maintains that Horatio’s words to the spirit “are subsequently seen to have reached beyond their contexts. . . (244). So Horatio and Marcellus exit the ramparts of Elsinore intending to enlist the aid of Hamlet, who is home from school. Hamlet is dejected by the “o’erhasty marriage” of his mother to his uncle less than two months after the funeral of Hamlet’s father (Gordon 128). Soon Horatio and Ma...
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... Frank Cass & Co., Ltd., 1964. p.14-16. http://www.freehomepages.com/hamlet/other/essayson.htm#demag-ess N. pag.
Pitt, Angela. “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Rpt. from Shakespeare’s Women. N.p.: n.p., 1981.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. http://www.chemicool.com/Shakespeare/hamlet/full.html
West, Rebecca. “A Court and World Infected by the Disease of Corruption.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Court and the Castle. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957.
Wilkie, Brian and James Hurt. “Shakespeare.” Literature of the Western World. Ed. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992.
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