CREATED ON 7th February 2018

Essay about Second Character Function in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

In many stories, the idea of a second character role is frequently overlooked and considered irreverent. However, in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare and the novel Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, the secondary individuals Dunstan and Horatio Ramsay respectively both play an essential function in the fulfillment of “Fifth Business”. According to Davies, Fifth Business are "those roles which, being those of Hero nor Heroine neither, Confidante nor Villain, but that have been however necessary to bring about the Recognition or the denouement” (Davies, Preface). Fifth Business symbolizes someone who is paradoxically a “helping character”, but gets the largest influence in the advancement of the primary personality(s) and the plot. With that said, both Dunstan and Horatio Ramsay match the function of Fifth Business within their respective texts. In Hamlet, Horatio satisfies the role when you are in a position to provide insight to Hamlet, when you are an anchor of reason in the plot, and when you are the perfect image of a pal to Hamlet. Similarly, in Fifth Business, Dunstan Ramsay fulfills the role by knowing the trick birth of Paul Dempster, when you are a witness to Boy Staunton’s rises and falls, and when you are the odd man out without partner. Although the advancement of the plot between Hamlet and Fifth Business will vary, both Horatio and Dunstan Ramsay likewise flourish in satisfying the function of Davies’ description of Fifth Business. Horatio is arguably the most crucial secondary character in Hamlet, and his role as Fifth Business obviously demonstrates his significance throughout the play. To be able to understand Horatio’s role as Fifth Business, 1 must explore his personality and function in the play first. Horatio is known as by man...

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