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The Perfect Friend; A Character Review Of Horatio

1754 words - 8 pages

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. This type of friendship is hard to come by. In the world renowned play written by Shakespeare entitled, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark this exact friendship is demonstrated throughout the play. The play is about a prince that returns to the castle to attend his father’s funeral only to discover his mother has remarried to the king’s brother in a very short time. The ghost of Hamlet’s father led to Hamlet displaying acts of insanity which is kept in check by his loyal friend Horatio. Most people have friends but there are very few friends that live up to the example in the Bible or even in Hamlet. Friends have plenty of attributes that qualify them as friends. These attributes are normally things a person either strives to be or mimic those of the person. Horatio represents the light or conscience side of Hamlet in the play. The Loyalty, trustworthiness and level minded thinking of Horatio provides the sane interpretation of Hamlet’s insanity.
Loyalty is the number one characteristic that is searched for in a friendship. Horatio sets the example of this trait. Horatio is like the angle sitting on your left shoulder. The angel’s purpose is to provide guidance and clarity to a situation. This is Shakespeare way of allowing the viewer to take a side in the play and make Hamlet a hero. At the beginning Marcellus and Barnardo call upon him to assess the validity of their Ghost-sightings. Marcellus states to Horatio “Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.” (1.1.46) Therefore they too rely and believe in Horatio's immense sincerity and rationality to give weight to their allegations. During the play, “Mouse Trap”, Hamlet needs a loyal counterpart to insure his intuition of his uncle is correct as he asked Horatio “… Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt/Do not itself unkennel in one speech/…Give him heedful note,/…And after we will both our judgment join/In censure of his seeming.” (3.2.80-85) Hamlet’s struggle with the uncertainty of the cause of his father’s death revealed by the Ghost, by deciding to validate the allegations by trapping the King during the play. Hamlet needed Horatio’s rational thoughts to verify the king’s response as guilt to confirm the testimony articulated by the Ghost. Hamlet fears that his own bias may influence him to a wrong judgment, he conveys his strategy to Horatio which is specified, “Hamlet and Horatio between them to provide a framework for how rational thought works that combines materiality and metaphysics. (Harmer 35)
Horatio's trustworthiness and sense of honesty are often acknowledged by Hamlet himself. His monologue reveals how much he values Horatio's character...

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