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Hamlet The Vengeful And Horatio He Virtuous

829 words - 4 pages

Shakespeare must have known his Hamlet would be nearly impossible to decipher, otherwise he would surely have omitted Hamlet’s unlikely confidant, Horatio. Horatio becomes not only integral to the plot, but also allows the audience further insight as to what is stirring within the title character. Hamlet comes to deeply trust Horatio because he perceives that he “hast been as one in suffering all that suffers nothing” (III.ii.69-70). Horatio, a man “[w]hose blood and judgment are so well commeddled,” takes “with equal thanks … fortune’s buffets and rewards” (III.ii.71-74). Though soliloquys are a direct connection to characters’ thoughts and motives, confidants serve a higher purpose by not only eliciting these honest thoughts, but also asking the main character questions the audience wishes to ask. Horatio’s character is a critical part of this performance.
The whole story of Hamlet would not have unraveled as it had were it not for Horatio. Hamlet’s quest for revenge stems from his encounter with his father’s ghost; however it was Horatio who, after seeing the ghost for himself, thought to “impart what we have seen tonight/ Unto young Hamlet…” (I.i.185-86). At the meeting with Hamlet in which Horatio and his friends arrive to tell Hamlet about the ghost, Horatio is set up to be the protagonist’s confidant for the remainder of the play. Hamlet corrects Horatio’s comment that he is Hamlet’s “poor servant ever” by saying, “Sir, my good friend. I’ll change that with you” (I.ii.168-69). Later Horatio solidifies his position as a major character by accepting Hamlet’s request to help him “Observe my uncle” for any suspicious actions during the Murder of Gonzago (III.ii.85). At this point in the play, Hamlet’s trust for Horatio has developed so much that Hamlet has entrusted him with the message he received from the ghost. Horatio consummates his influence on the play’s plot at the resolution. As Hamlet is dying, he beseeches Horatio to resist committing suicide after witnessing the royal family’s tragedy and “draw thy breath in pain/ To tell my story” (V.ii.383-84). The self-sacrificing Horatio reluctantly relieves himself of the poisoned liquor and resolves to tell the tale of Hamlet to the victorious Fortinbras. Solely Horatio is credited with keeping the record straight and ensuring that Fortinbras claims the throne. Horatio remains as Hamlet’s confidant to the closing of the play.
While Horatio is integral to the plotline,...

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