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Who is Osric, and why is he included in the play, "Hamlet"?Act 5

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cammy17 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 31, 2010 at 12:50 AM via web

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Who is Osric, and why is he included in the play, "Hamlet"?

Act 5

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted May 31, 2010 at 8:36 PM (Answer #1)

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Osric is a courtier in the Danish court and in Act 5, sc. 2, he is the one who comes to Hamlet with the challenge, put forth by Laertes, to a fencing match.  Osric is shown to be a sycophant as he speaks in superlatives of Laertes and especially in the taking off and putting back on of his hat as Hamlet first tells him to put his hat on and then to take it off. Osric agrees with everything Hamlet says even when it contradicts what Hamlet had said previously.  In this way, he serves as a source of the ridiculous type of people that Claudius has in his court.  Osric is overdressed and tries to speak pompously and he is shown, in the end, to simply be a ridiculous person.  This shows the disintegration of the Danish court under Claudius' rule.

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