Throughout literature, there a character who provides a moral compass for other characters. In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Horatio’s character seems fairly simple: somewhat of a “yes-man” to Hamlet, often agreeing with anything Hamlet says. However, at the end of the play we understand his significance, as he is one of the last survivors. This transition is unexpected because for most of the play, Horatio is a reserved character and doesn’t speak very often. Despite this, it is clear that Horatio and Hamlet’s friendship is extremely deep, and Hamlet trusts Horatio more than anybody. At first, the relationship is one of a prince and an advisor, but as the play goes on we realize they are in fact close friends. Horatio is much more than a “yes-man” to Hamlet, even though this may not be visible for most of the play. This friendship is due to three of Horatio’s characteristics: trustworthiness, loyalty, and admiration, which make him an ideal friend to Hamlet. These traits also inspire confidence in Horatio from other characters in the play. Even Shakespeare shows that he values Horatio by allowing him to survive at the end of the play.
Many characters in the play have confidence in Horatio because of his trustworthiness. Horatio is very trustworthy, and not only in the way that he can keep a secret if needed, but he is honorable and keeps his word, and is honest to himself, showing integrity. Here, Horatio shows this trait by revealing to Hamlet that Hamlet’s father’s ghost had appeared.
“As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it writ down in our duty
To let you know of it.”
-Act I scene ii
Horatio doesn't hesitate to tell Hamlet about this supernatural business because it involves Hamlet's family. Although this decision may seem somewhat trivial and an obvious one, consistently good judgement like this is what make Horatio widely trusted. In addition, Horatio uses the word “duty” to show once again Horatio’s strong devotion to Hamlet. Horatio’s dedication to Hamlet leads Horatio to become a trustworthy companion. Hamlet also confides things to Horatio that he wouldn’t tell to other characters in the play. Hamlet feels comfortable asking Horatio for help planning the death of the king of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle. However, Hamlet knows he can trust Horatio to be there in crucial circumstances like this because of Horatio’s trustworthiness.
Horatio’s most remembered trait, loyalty, is shown throughout the entire play. Horatio is a very devoted friend to Hamlet. In the following quote, Horatio is warning Hamlet that him following the ghost could be dangerous:
“What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the...