Compare and contrast the characters of Hamlet and Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

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Hamlet and Horatio are friends and schoolmates. A key to Horatio's pragmatic, level-headed character comes early in the play, as together the two encounter the ghost of Hamlet's father. Hamlet says the following to Horatio:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
 
By "philosophy," Hamlet means Horatio's rational method of thinking, a rationality that excludes the supernatural—at least until Horatio witnesses it. So we know from the start that Horatio is a rational person. 
 
Horatio is also loyal to Hamlet's demand that he never reveal he knows about the ghost and that he never betray Hamlet when Hamlet acts the madman:
 
But come,
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself
(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on),
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall—
With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As “Well, well, we...

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