2008 Open Prompt Answer

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, we are introduced to Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend. He always follows Hamlet where possible, and quickly carries out orders. He appears to care for Hamlet throughout the play. The relationship between Horatio and Hamlet shows us that Horatio is too perfect, and that he was essential in carrying out the death of Claudius.

 

We first see Horatio at the start of the play. He is trusted by the castle guards, who know that he is close to Hamlet. The castle guards show him the ghost, and he endeavours to tell Hamlet the next day, so that he is well informed. Horatio doesn’t go around telling anyone else, nor does he discuss it with the guards. The guards work for the king, but Horatio makes sure that the guards don’t tell anyone, so that Claudius never hears about it. He seems to have predicted every scenario, and does for the good of Hamlet. In this way, Horatio is perfect.

 

We later see Horatio and Hamlet in a number of scenes. Horatio is often advising Hamlet of what to do. When Hamlet needs to check if his uncle reacts unfavorably to the play he has put on, he turns to Horatio to watch his uncle. In this way, Hamlet shows that he trusts Horatio with his family members’ lives. That level of trust is almost never seen in the real world showing that Horatio must be very loyal to Hamlet. Later in the play, Horatio receives the letters from Hamlet, the key component that the entire plan rests on. Horatio delivers the letters perfectly, and he does this without letting Claudius know what is happening. Everyone seems to trust him, and not realize he is loyal to only Hamlet. This amount of amiability, and ability to look at a difficult situations and get a solution makes Horatio a “Mary Sue” – someone without any flaws.

 

Near the end of the play, Horatio advises Hamlet on what to do. He warns Hamlet that the entire setup with Hamlet fighting Laertes is a trap, but Hamlet doesn’t listen to him. Horatio demonstrates that he knows the future, or that he is very intelligent. Then, when everyone is dying, he offers to commit suicide as well. This is a huge moment. What kind of friend would willingly die, when everyone is so young? There were many rational decisions that Horatio could have made at this point, as he had demonstrated in the past. Horatio instead does exactly what Hamlet tells him to do, and makes sure that Hamlet’s voice is heard from beyond the grave in the choosing of the next king of Denmark.

 

Throughout Hamlet, we see Horatio and Hamlet’s relationship. The relationship appears to never change, but instead it is revealed to us through the many actions and the amount of trust Hamlet has in Horatio. Horatio is loved by all, but he only appears to care for Hamlet. His unquestionable loyalty, and his extreme intelligence make him a perfect man, someone who proves essential to Hamlet’s quest.

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