Hamlet's Horatio: A True Friend Essay

1078 Words 5 Pages
In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Hamlet, Prince Hamlet conspires to avenge his father’s murder. Throughout the play, Hamlet spirals through bouts of insanity, depression, and hostility. However, across his tragic tale, Hamlet’s old friend Horatio remains a constant. A scholar and a loyal friend to Hamlet, Horatio acts as one of Hamlet’s many character foils, meaning his characteristics contrast to Hamlet highlighting certain personality traits and allowing the reader to understand Hamlet. Horatio’s minor role is vital to the story of Hamlet. He does not add anything to the plot of the play and instead acts as the voice of common sense. Horatio is an outside observer to the madness that ensues after the murder of King Hamlet. All of …show more content…
If Hamlet had listened to his oldest friend, his tragic fate may have been spared.
Because Horatio believes in Hamlet, as readers, we can believe in Hamlet as well. Horatio believes Hamlet when so many doubt his sanity. Hamlet completely trusts Horatio; He reveals to him first that his madness is an act, makes him swear to keep it a secret, which he does: “How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself/(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet/To put an antic disposition on),/That you, at such times seeing me, never shall... note.../That you know aught of me...So grace and mercy at your most need help you”(I.v.170). He also tells him about his plan for the play to reveal whether Claudius is guilty or not. Horatio is the first one Hamlet tells about the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Horatio is the only one who seems to sympathize with Hamlet for the death of his father, and trusts him to keep his secrets within his vengeful plot. Horatio is calm, rational, and resolute. He possesses some of the characteristics that Hamlet lacks, characteristics that lead to Hamlet’s demise. Hamlet admires Horatio for his virtue and self control: “Horatio thou art e’en as just a man/ as e’er my conversation cop’d withal” (III.ii.56). Here he says that Hamlet is one of the best men he has ever met. Where Hamlet is rash and overruled by his emotions, Horatio is thoughtful and unwavering in his stability. As a foil, Horatio brings out

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