Horatio's Role in Hamlet

1771 Words Oct 26th, 2011 8 Pages
True Friends Are Hard To Find

True friends are a rarity. Although many may feel as if their friendships are true, it is only known for certain when that friendship is put to the test. Will it crack under the weight of tragedies and stress, or will obstacles and battles only strengthen it? Horatio, from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” who remains loyal to his friend Hamlet throughout the entire course of the play, passes this test without ever showing the slightest tendency to betray Hamlet or harm their friendship. Horatio is a true friend and choric figure to Hamlet because of their mutual respect and understanding for one another, because Horatio keeps Hamlet’s darkest secrets while giving him candid and honest feedback, and because he
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Hamlet wants a friend “that is not passion’s slave,” for he “will wear him / In [his] heart’s core,” and luckily for Hamlet, Horatio fits that description perfectly (III.ii.68-69). Hamlet now confides in Horatio about Claudius’s murder of his father, and asks him to keep a close eye on Claudius to see how his expressions and mannerisms change throughout the play. It is significant that Hamlet shares with Horatio the truth behind his father’s death, because he has not told the story to anyone else. Even though his mother and Claudius have hired Hamlet’s friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be friendly to Hamlet and elicit information out of him, Hamlet sees right through it. This further shows that Hamlet is an excellent judge of character, which again credits Horatio as a trustworthy character.
Horatio is not only trusted by Hamlet, but also by the court. In Act I, Barnardo and Marcellus ask Horatio for their help because he is a scholar. The court also trusts Horatio, as seen in Act IV, when Claudius asks Horatio to follow Ophelia after she is through with her insane ramblings. There is not a single character in the play that does not appear to respect and trust Horatio when speaking to or about him. His loyalties lie with Hamlet, however, and we see this for certain when Hamlet sends a sailor to deliver letters to him. Hamlet asks Horatio “to let the King have the letters [he has]
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