Research Paper: Hamlet and Horatio the Relationship

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Hamlet: No, you will reveal it.

Horatio: Not I, my Lord, by Heaven.

Act I, scene 5)

The importance of this scene and other such requests lies in the fact that here we see a sane person completely respecting an insane man without judging or doubting him. Hamlet is often acting like a lunatic, responding to auditory hallucinations but to Horatio, this is not as important as his respect and love for his friend. Interestingly, throughout the play, Shakespeare assures us that Horatio is not blinded by his friendship. He is fully aware of Hamlet's bizarre actions but chooses to love and respect him in spite of that. For example when Hamlet is talking to the ghost, Horatio says: "He waxes desperate with imagination." And when Hamlet is in a state of agitation and makes incoherent references to things that Horatio doesn't understand, he responds by saying: "These are but wild and whirling words my Lord." This makes it clear that Horatio is not a sycophant or a fool. He loves his friend despite his flaws because that's what unconditional love means but he is willing to often honest and sincere advice when requested. He is also honest about his opinion of Hamlet's actions but understands that his actions are grounded in deep grief that Hamlet feels after losing his father. He doesn't interfere in Hamlet's life unless he feels these actions could put him in danger. Horatio wants to avoid directing his friend's life and doesn't want to influence his decisions either. But out of sincere concern for his well-being, Horatio would try to stop him when needed. For example when the ghost asks Hamlet to follow him, Horatio tells him not to go- fearing the worst. But when Hamlet insists, Horatio takes it upon himself to information him of the dangers involved.

Hamlet: Why, what should be the fear?

Horatio: What if it tempt you toward the flood, my Lord?

Be rul'd, you shall not go.

Hamlet: My fate cries out,

And makes each petty arter in this body

As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve:

Still am I call'd? Unhand me gentlemen:

By Heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me:

say away. Go on. I'll follow thee.

Act I, scene 4)

Horatio is more of a counselor and adviser instead of being a mediator or parent-like figure. He shows concern without actively participating which is indicative of his respect for Hamlet and the desire to let one direct his own life when his "fate cries out." This lack of participation but genuine concern is again exhibited towards the end when Hamlet is keen to duel with Laertes. Horatio is fully aware of Laertes' skill and power and thus shows concern by urging his friend to forego any such thoughts. He doesn't actively try t stop Hamlet from the duel but makes it clear that he doesn't consider it a good idea. Without mincing his words, he tells Hamlet:

Horatio: You will lose this wager, my Lord.

Hamlet: I do not think so, since he went into France, I have been in continual practice;

Horatio: If your mind dislike anything, obey.

I will forestall their repair hither, and say you are not fit.

Hamlet: Not a whit, we defy augury; Let be.

Act V. scene 2)

Horatio doesn't want to exercise power over his friend like that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do. They are friends with their own hidden motives and seek to control his actions by demanding information that Hamlet is not willing to share. They treat Hamlet shabbily once they are certain of his lunacy as Hamlet himself recognizes:

Hamlet: Why look you now, how unworthy thing you make of me: you would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops: you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note, to the top of my compassi

Why do you think that I am easier to be played upon than a pipe?

Act III, scene 2)

But Horatio is not guilty of any such action. His interests never diverge but that is solely because of his concern for Hamlet and his completely refusal to interfere unnecessarily. He never deviates from his real purpose i.e. To love Hamlet and protect him where possible. His concern is genuine but his… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Hamlet and Horatio the Relationship.  (2006, November 20).  Retrieved July 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hamlet-horatio-relationship/86963

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"Hamlet and Horatio the Relationship."  Essaytown.com.  November 20, 2006.  Accessed July 24, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hamlet-horatio-relationship/86963.