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October 23, 2005

Horatio, the Confidant

Hamlet:
..And blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commenddled
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passions slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay in my heart of heart,
As I do thee...

These lines are spoken only to Horatio. They show that Hamlet has become skeptical of everyone, including himself. Hamlet doesn't even trust himself. So he asks Horatio for his help. Horatio is his confidant. Right after these lines he tells Horatio about his plans for the play and his hope to prove Claudius' guilt. Hamlet is telling Horatio that he needs his opinion on the King's reaction because he doesn't trust himself to make a sound judgment. In the above lines he says he needs one "that is not a passions salve." He trusts Horatio as the level-headed friend and Horatio is the only one that he trusts.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at October 23, 2005 9:45 AM

Comments

I agree Lorin. Horatio seems to be the only real person in this play. He doesnt try to backstab others and is not fake. He is the nicest character in this whole play. I think that it showed at the end when he was the only one not dead, that it is better to be real, nice and trustworthy then mean, cruel and dishonest.

Posted by: Denamarie at October 23, 2005 12:28 PM

Yes, Horatio is the only one he trust. I think the reason is that he is the cool with him, like Denamarie said, but he is the only one who doesn't work directly for the king. He mostly work with Hamlet. Horatio may be the only person that probably won't go back to the king if something was wrong.

Posted by: KevinHinton at October 23, 2005 1:56 PM

Dena,
Yeah, I think you are totally right. Horatio is the only one who survives the killing spree at the end because he is a good, trustworthy, level-headed guy. Plus, because he is trustworthy, he has to be the one left so that he may tell Denmark the truth about what happened. All of the other characters would have a tainted view. There is definitely poetic justice in the play.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 23, 2005 7:34 PM

The only reason Horatio *does* survive is Hamlet keeps him from drinking what's left in the poisoned cup.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at October 23, 2005 10:20 PM

Yes Hamlet does stop Horatio from drinking the rest of the poison, but that happened for a reason. Hamlet doesn't want Horatio to die. He wants him to tell the true story.

Hamlet:
Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
..................
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain
To tell my story.

And I don't think there is a better way for the play to have ended. I think everyone else (forgive me for being morbid) got what they deserved.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 23, 2005 10:37 PM

Good call! There's also the bit about Fortinbras calling for all the bodies to be put up on a platform for everyone to see. So the play we have just read is carrying out Hamlet's dying request to Horatio. (And it also gave an excuse for the newly-arrived soldiers to pick up all the corpses and carry them off -- remember on Shakespeare's day there wouldn't have been a blackout or curtain to close the play.)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at October 23, 2005 10:40 PM

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