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" (1.2.138), followed by Horatio's clarification, "Not when I saw it" (1.2.139). Again, Horatio proves that he is not eccentric--that he is the voice of reason. Horatio is seen as a peacemaker, a man of reason, when he calms Hamlet at the Ophelia funeral. Hamlet, in 3.2, asks Horatio to be a second witness to Claudius' guilt upon seeing the Gonsago scene. Hamlet needs verification from Horatio as to the reality of what they both see. At the end of the scene, Horatio supports Hamlet's interpretation of Claudius' actions as proof of guilt.
Horatio, as opposed to Hamlet's dramatic flair, is the character that prompts Hamlet to speak (usually asking Hamlet for exposition or disclosure of Hamlet's thoughts). He merely prompts Hamlet to expound. Shakespeare used the character Horatio to prompt Hamlet to speak so that the audience would hear Hamlet expound while Hamlet was in scene (Hamlet often vocalizes his thoughts, without being helped by Horatio, in soliloquies). For example, at the beginning of 1.4, Horatio asks Hamlet to interpret the sound of horns and cannons, "What does this mean, my lord?" (1.4.7.). Hamlet then tells him about the evil revelry of Claudius. Horatio then prompts Hamlet for more information, "Is it...