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Horatio, The One True Friend
William Shakespeare wrote about a distraught prince trying to avenge the wrongful death of his father while all his faith in honesty and the good of man was nearly destroyed. In his play Hamlet, Hamlet is the prince and he is the one who would have lost all his faith in the good of man had it not been for his loyal friend Horatio. Many critics say that Horatio did not play such an important role in the tragedy, that he merely was the informant for the audience and that his character was not developed beyond that fact that he was just the honest confidant of Hamlet. That may be true, however, Horatio does serve two central purposes to the drama, and it is through these purposes that show the qualities that make Horatio memorable and admirable. Horatio is the harbinger of truth. It is through Horatio that the actions taken by Hamlet gain credibility. He is the outside observer to the madness. Hamlet could soliloquize on and on, but it is his conversations with Horatio that gives sanity to Hamlet's thoughts. His second role is to be the loyal, truthful confidant of Hamlet. The audience meets Horatio in the opening scene of the play. Marcellus and Bernardo, the Danish officers on guard at the castle, ask Horatio to speak to the vision that came to visit the castle. He is asked by the officers to speak to the spirit because he is a most educated scholar and the only one among them qualified to speak in such an intimidating situation. "Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio" (Act I, scene i, ln. 42). This demonstrates the respect shown to Horatio, although he is a simple commoner. Horatio establishes his bravery during the opening scene, as well, by questioning the ghost. His actions demand respect. "Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!" (Act I, scene i, ln. 52). Horatio is also the one who informs Hamlet of the ghost's visit.

Horatio plays the informant of the play; he clues everyone in onto what is happening in the...
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