Hamlet - Relationship between Hamlet and Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Horatio. Are they truly friends?

Essay by lc2k4High School, 12th gradeA+, January 2004

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Are there any acceptable reasons to lie to a friend? This question brings us to the issue of true friendship. In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the relationship between Hamlet and Horatio as well as the relationship between Hamlet with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are presented. These relationships are portrayed by the occasion on which the friends meet, the method in which Hamlet's friends treat him, and how they act towards him. From these incidents, Horatio proves to be a better friend to Hamlet than either Rosencrantz or Guildenstern.

As the play develops, we see that Horatio treats Hamlet with more kindness than both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. This is exemplified in Horatio's actions in particular, his first meeting with Hamlet where he informed Hamlet about his father's ghost, then advised him not to follow the ghost, and helped him perform the mousetrap in order to prove Claudius' guilt in the murder of King Hamlet. In the beginning, after witnessing the appearance of King Hamlet's ghost, Horatio informs Hamlet of what he saw. "I think I saw [your father] yesternight." (I, ii, 188). The fact, that Horatio would tell his friend that he saw the ghost of his dead father every day for the last week proved that Horatio cared for Hamlet. Next, Horatio tried to protect Hamlet by warning him of possible dangers that could arise if he followed his father's ghost.

Hamlet: "It will not speak, then I will follow it"

Horatio: "Do not, my lord...What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,/ Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff." (I, iv, 62-63, 69-70)

From this scene, Horatio is shown to be protecting Hamlet from dangers that could occur, an act that a true friend would carry out. Finally, Horatio helped Hamlet to...