Who is the young man in Hamlet who best illustrates a balance between emotion and reason?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Horatio seems to be the man that best illustrates a balance between emotion and reason. That is why Hamlet asks Horatio to watch the play "The Mousetrap" where Hamlet plans to trap Claudius into revealing his role in the ghost's murder. Hamlet asks Horatio to watch because he want


". . . that man

That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him

In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,

As I do thee."( III,ii, 67-70)


When Hamlet is able to get back to Denmark after being attacked by Pirates, it is Horatio he first notifies, knowing he can trust Horatio to act with discretion. Horatio is the first person to greet Hamlet on his return just before the funeral of Ophelia. When Hamlet runs away, distraught, it is Horatio that Claudius sends after him. Later, Hamlet confides to Horatio that he is ready for for whatever comes. Hamlet says:


"there's a special

Providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to

come, if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now,

yet it will come. The readiness is all."

( V,ii,211-214)


When Horatio does threaten to kill himself after he sees that Hamlet is dying, Hamlet gives Horatio the job of telling his story to others. And so, it is Horatio who says:

"And let me speak to the yet unknowing world

How these things came about. So shall you hear(395)

Of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts;

Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters;

Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause;

And, in this upshot, purposes mistook

Fall'n on the inventors' heads.( V, ii, 394-400)

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial