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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: July ::
Re: Horatio
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1264  Wednesday, 14 July 1999.

[1]     From:   Billy Houck <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jul 1999 11:17:31 EDT
        Subj:   SHK 10.1251 Re: Horatio

[2]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Jul 1999 11:16:39 +0100
        Subj:   Re: Horatio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jul 1999 11:17:31 EDT
Subject: Re: Horatio
Comment:        SHK 10.1251 Re: Horatio

When we did Hamlet a few years ago, a friend gave the boy playing
Horatio a small section of toy train track.

It was H-O ratio.

Billy Houck

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Jul 1999 11:16:39 +0100
Subject:        Re: Horatio

'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.'

It is not possible to give 'Horatio' an integrated derivation, but that
would not necessarily stop Shakespearre from indulging in another bit of
wordplay, 'that fatal Cleopatra'. He may only have had 'ratio' in mind
anyway, and it was a fair pun on an existing name. This is the play that
happily mixes Germanic Hamlet and Gertrude with Latinate Claudius,
Polonius, Laertes and Greek Ophelia. If Horatio is indeed Reason, then
he is Hamlet's Reason - which is an answer to those who ask why Claudius
did not use him to spy on Hamlet.

Going off at a tangent, if the names of the principals are not the
hotch-potch they seem, they could suggest a cultural strain to the
play.  Thus the Northern line - represented by the Hamlets and Gertrude,
and standing for a 'face up and fight your enemies' culture - is
infiltrated by a Mediterranean Claudius (and by implication his
followers), who is diplomatic until thwarted and then decidedly
Machiavellian. The result of the clash is to allow in a third party, a
Northerner with a French name, not terribly unlike William the
Conqueror. (When you consider that the English kings of the time were
Danish, the parallel is odd. However, it would be difficult to explain
the Mediterranean influence unless it were the Church.)

The paragraph above is offered with no commitment whatsoever!
 

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