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beavadam
11-28-2007, 07:56 AM
How important is Horatio in developing the character and experience of Hamlet throughout the play?

Peter 1966
11-28-2007, 08:03 AM
He's there by Hamlet's side at all the key moments - but do we ever see him guide Hamlet in any particular direction? Maybe he's there more as a foil to Hamlet to allow him to develop his own thinking aloud?

Do we ever know how Horatio feels about anything Hamlet does?

beavadam
11-28-2007, 08:28 AM
The impromptu euology Horatio delivers to Fortinbras upon Hamlet's death suggests that Horatio was always truly loyal to Hamlet throughout his "journey" and he seems not to harbour any feelings of resentment towards him. Everyone in the monarchy is dead at that point so Horatio would have no reason to lie to Fortinbras.
:thumbs_up

Peter 1966
11-28-2007, 09:04 AM
I agree. Maybe this shows how Hamlet is really viewed. We often hear that he is worshipped by 'the people', although his lack of action might make us feel he is a foolish.

What do you think Horatio sees in Hamlet to eulogise him?

beavadam
11-28-2007, 10:27 AM
Horatio uses the word 'noble' to describe Hamlet in his speech directly after Hamlet's death. This obviously suggests that he thinks Hamlet is noble, but also may show what he feels about how Hamlet went about his revenge. It may be a comment on the way Hamlet made sure of Claudius's guilt before he took action. Horatio never questions Hamlets judgement, showing the closeness they had.
Through his Euology you can summarise that Horatio has a lot of admiration for Hamlet. He may be a very similar character to Hamlet in the way he believes that things can be thought through without always resorting to violence and like Hamlet represent the mond of a scholar rather than a soldier.

Emma263
11-29-2007, 02:48 PM
I think Horatio is partly used by Shakespeare to help convey Hamlets thoughts and character to the audience. The plot thought up by Hamlet in order to see Claudius' reaction to the play is both encouraged and supported by Horatio. From previous experiences in the play, we see that Hamlet is very slow in seeking revenge so at this point it could be argued that it is actually Horatio who ignites Hamlets' plot to seek revenge.
As most characters in the play seem to hold a negative viewpoint of Hamlet, it is from Horatio that we see a different viewpoint. It is apparent that Horatio is loyal to Hamlet and that he has great admiration for him ie. calling him 'noble' at the end of the play. Referring to a previous point, Horatio's admiration also goes to show that it is possible that Hamlet really is worshipped by 'the people'.

Redzeppelin
11-29-2007, 11:10 PM
Hamlet is very much about verification - how do you know what is true and how can you be sure? Horatio has been likened by at least one critic to "rationality" - he is the skeptic off of which Hamlet bounces his speculations. Note that Hamlet does not completely trust himself in his observation of Claudius during the play-within-the-play scene. He asks Horatio to verify what he (Hamlet) believes he will see.

As well, it is Horatio's support that lends credence to the guards report of the ghost of Hamlet Sr. (which is why they initially invite Horatio to accompany them during midnight guard duty).

And, of course, Horatio is Hamlet's foil.

Lioness_Heart
11-30-2007, 11:24 AM
Hamlet is very much about verification - how do you know what is true and how can you be sure? Horatio has been likened by at least one critic to "rationality" - he is the skeptic off of which Hamlet bounces his speculations. Note that Hamlet does not completely trust himself in his observation of Claudius during the play-within-the-play scene. He asks Horatio to verify what he (Hamlet) believes he will see.

As well, it is Horatio's support that lends credence to the guards report of the ghost of Hamlet Sr. (which is why they initially invite Horatio to accompany them during midnight guard duty).

And, of course, Horatio is Hamlet's foil.

I agree, in making it clear how much Hamlet himself respects Horatio, the audience will find him a sympathetic character, which Shakespeare can use to show his own viewpoint or to steer the audience's responses. Also, at times Horatio is more sympathetic than Hamlet, so it is through him that the audience can remain engaged with the play.