| Quote #10
The conclusion of Hamlet is often described as being self-reflexive. That is, it contemplates the workings of the theater and draws our attention to the fact that we're watching a dramatic performance (or reading about one). Here, Horatio begins to make good on his promise to Hamlet that he, Horatio, will live to tell the world Hamlet's tragic story. (At this point, Hamlet's dead, as are the other main characters, and even though Horatio wanted to die along side his dear friend, Hamlet made him promise not to kill himself.)
What's so striking about this moment is the way Horatio and Fortinbras call for the dead bodies to be placed "high on a stage" to be viewed by the "noblest" "audience" while Horatio tells everybody what's gone down in Elsinore. If we think about it, Horatio and Fortinbras basically turn the royal court into a giant theater, which has some pretty significant implications. These actions suggest that theater can be a kind of tribute to the dead (like a funeral service). It can also be a place where memory is preserved infinitely. Hamlet will never be forgotten – he'll live on as long as his story is told. For more on this, check out "What's Up With the Ending?"