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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: July ::
Re: Why not Horatio?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1218  Friday, 2 July 1999.

[1]     From:   Jeannette Webber <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Jul 1999 17:00:31 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1207 Hamlet: Why not Horatio?

[2]     From:   Richard Carn <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Jul 1999 17:13:58 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 10.1207 Hamley: Why not Horatio?

[3]     From:   Richard Carn <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Jul 1999 08:57:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1207 Hamlet: Why not Horatio?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeannette Webber <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jul 1999 17:00:31 EDT
Subject: 10.1207 Hamlet: Why not Horatio?
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1207 Hamlet: Why not Horatio?

My question about Horatio is why, when he's Hamlet's only friend and
ally, he's so little present around Elsinore.  Even though Horatio knows
about the ghost's visitation and presumably Ophelia's rejection of his
buddy, he's nowhere to be found during most of Hamlet's anguish.  The
question of why Claudius doesn't use him as a snitch never occurred:
Horatio has personal integrity and true friendship for Hamlet, no?  Not
a slave of passion . . . .  Hamlet uses Horatio, or intends to, to
confirm whatever guilt Claudius may reveal during The Mousetrap.  Lines
of love and loyalty are clear, but the tragedy wouldn't unfold if this
were a true buddy story . . . .

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Carn <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jul 1999 17:13:58 -0400
Subject: Hamley: Why not Horatio?
Comment:        SHK 10.1207 Hamley: Why not Horatio?

There is nothing in the editions of Hamlet I have read to make explicit
why Claudius and/or Gertrude do not broach Horatio regarding Hamlet's
distraction.   Gertrude appears satisfied that Hamlet's distraction is
no more than "his father's death and our o'erhasty marriage".      To
have had Claudius speak to Horatio of Hamlet's madness would have added
an additional subplot to a  long play.  It would also have deprived
Hamlet of a confidant to whom Hamlet expressed some of his most
beautiful poetic thoughts.  Horatio would also  have become the subject
of a conflict  between his oath of secrecy to Hamlet and his loyalty to
the King and thereby distracting from  the conflicts of the main
protagonist.

I hope you find this of some help.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Carn <
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Date:           Friday, 2 Jul 1999 08:57:34 -0400
Subject: 10.1207 Hamlet: Why not Horatio?
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1207 Hamlet: Why not Horatio?

Thank you for the clarifications.

There are explicit reasons for sending for Rosencrantz  and Guildenstern
given by Claudius.  They were "That, being from such young days brought
up with him , and sith"  (since that time) "neighbour'd to his youth and
havior"

There is no indication in the play that Horatio had in the past been as
close to Hamlet as R & G had been.  Hamlet's momentary difficulty in
remembering Horatio's name, a problem  he did not have in greeting  R &
G, would appear to confirm that.

Horatio had returned from Wittenberg for the funeral but had not been
seen or at least greeted by Hamlet until after the wedding, almost a
month later.  Given this, why should we assume that Claudius had seen or
should think of Horatio as better than R & G to tap the reasons for
Hamlet's melancholy.

If Claudius in fact knew Horatio well then  he would also have known
that Horatio, whose responses to Hamlet are direct and to the point ,
would probably not have been so willing as R & G to use indirection to
find directions out.

Do you agree?
 

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