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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: July ::
Re: Horatio
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1251  Tuesday, 13 July 1999.

[1]     From:   Syd Kasten <
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        Date:   Thursday, 8 Jul 1999 22:37:48 +0300 (IDT)
        Subj:   Ho ratio

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Sunday, 11 Jul 1999 16:16:39 -0400
        Subj:   Horatio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Syd Kasten <
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Date:           Thursday, 8 Jul 1999 22:37:48 +0300 (IDT)
Subject:        Ho ratio

When did the word "rational", referring to logical thinking, enter the
English language?

Horatio seems to be around when clear thinking is needed.  Hamlet
recruits him in the plan to test the truth of the ghost's message.
Horatio is there to advise the Queen to pay heed to the power of the
populace and receive Ophelia, as  L. Swilley pointed out.  It is to Ho
ratio that Hamlet bequeathes the task of making sense, for the sake of
history, of the pile of corpses left on stage.  True, that Horatio was
intending to do something irrevocably emotional at the time, but let's
accept that he is not merely a theatrical device; he is human (within
the confines of the play) and at some extreme point we should allow his
emotion to overcome his capacity to reason. In the end he accedes to
Hamlet's request.

The aspirated "o" is the Greek definite article, whereas my dictionary
has ratio derived from Latin. Mixing languages does not fit my
impression of Shakespeare's integrity. Unfortunately I have little Latin
and less Greek.  Perhaps someone out there can confirm that "rational"
has Greek as well as Latin roots.

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Sunday, 11 Jul 1999 16:16:39 -0400
Subject:        Horatio

John Dover Wilson takes up the "inconsistencies" in the character (in
both senses) of Horatio in What Happens in Hamlet (232-36), and explains
them in terms of dramatic function.  But the unusually complex textual
and (presumptively) theatrical history of the play surely precludes
confident solutions to this as to other cruces of this most recalcitrant
drama.

Dave Evett
 

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