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|GR: What ho! Horatio!
Written by Jezkalyn
(6/5/2003 12:01 p.m.)
The question posed by Laraine is "Does Horatio have a personality?" I have to say, catagorically yes! He has as much a personality as anyone else in the play. He self describes himself as more of an antique Roman than a Dane. By this I think he means exactly how he acts, if that makes any sense. He is sensible and will only believe his own senses, as when he first sees the ghost. He is not one to be run away with his fancy. He is a "good" guy and modest. He is honest and sees things as they are but still very tactful. He is dutiful and particularily devoted to Hamlet. But most of all, he is not of the court. He is an outsider. An observer.
He is alos, the voice of reason and caution on many occasions: he begs H three times to not follow the ghost; one of my favorite lines of his when H is contemplating death- 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.; When H and L are fighting in O's grave- Good my lord, be quiet; upon the offer of a duel w/ L- You will lose this wager, my lord.; in the same scene, he encourages H to listen to his instincts and offers to make an excuse for him- If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will forestall their repair hither, and say you are not fit. Every exchange he has wiht Hamlet always seems to be tempered with caution and restraint, something that might have saved some of the other characters from death.
I think Hamlet sums him up when he says this:
Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
O, my dear lord, --
Nay, do not think I flatter;
In the bigger picture, he is a catalyst. He sets up the Fortinbras plot. I wonder what would have happened had he just told Marcellus and Bernardo that there is no such things as ghosts? Well, we wouldn't have had a play for one.
In the even larger picture, I think Horatio is us: the audience. He is not part of the court. He is the only person who sees things as they really are. His function is to "watch" this play with us. I think he works somewhat like a Greek Chorus.
So that's my diatribe on Horatio. :-) I really like the guy. I don't think he is two dimensional at all.
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