Saturday, September 19, 2015

Horatio at Home

    In literature, a character often feels at home, if they are with the people that they are familiar with. They tend to speak more freely, especially if they are with their friends. If we find such characters with those who offer comfort to them, then we recognize that they will freely talk about their motives with each other.

    In general, characters speak freely so that their traits become perceptible to us as readers. So if we would like to look into how a character is to be seen from the point of view of the writer, then we should look at where the character is at home or among good company. The following example will show this general tendency:

When Hamlet decides to see the ghost, then Horatio then warns him (I.iv, 69-76):

    What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.

    The above lines represent Horatio as an interpreter of Hamlet, who is hard to understand at times, due to his ambitious preoccupations. These motives are shown to us more clearly by Horatio, who presents the prince as a victim of an occult experience. The ghost of Hamlet's father will tell him exactly who it was that killed him, but Horatio cautions the prince about the ghost beforehand. So Horatio feels comfortable about reassuring Hamlet about the coming encounter with the ghost.

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