The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0238 Monday, 18 May 2009
Date: Friday, 15 May 2009 16:04:38 -0400
Subject: What ho, Horatio
So . . . my Professor friend and I have all sorts of disagreements about
Hamlet's Horatio. The ongoing spat at present is the exchange of Act 3,
Scene 2. lines 270-274, immediately following the play within the play.
Hamlet: O good Horatio, I'll take the ghost's word for a thousand
pounds. Didst perceive?
Horatio: Very well, my lord.
Hamlet: Upon the talk of poisoning?
Horatio: I did very well note him.
My friend (pulling rank), insists Horatio is misleading Hamlet, seeming
to agree with him but actually not being convinced. He doesn't say it
bluntly: "I believe the ghost. I believe Claudius' actions were
suspicious." My friend insists Horatio's remarks are noncommittal.
I highlighted Horatio's entire part. My argument is that he never
prevaricates, never dissembles, and certainly never misses an
opportunity to chide or advise Hamlet despite being his social inferior.
Pulling these lines out of such a context and saying, "Uh, he doesn't
mean it," just makes no sense to me.
This Prof has opened all of his classes to me on an old-gal audit basis.
He's great. But gee, I'd like to win one round!
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