my favorite part of hamlet is at the beginning when they see the ghost of hamlet sr for the first time
and the guards are like “Horatio, you go talk to it! You went to college!”
and Horatio is like “Yeah! I did go to college! I will go talk to the ghost!”
like. where did horatio go to college. did he go to ghost college
That’s actually a really fascinating illustration of how literary tropes have evolved over time.
Throughout much of Western European history, even exceedingly basic formal education - the sort of thing that you or I would learn in elementary school - was largely restricted to the clergy and the children of the very wealthy. Literacy rates were so low that as much as a third of the population were unable to write their own names. (This is where the trope about signing one’s name with an “X” comes from, incidentally.)
Consequently, being college-educated was a really big deal, and contemporary media reflected this. As late as the 17th Century, Western European theatre and literature would often treat college-educated individuals in much the same way that modern media treats comic book super-scientists: experts at everything, able to master new fields in hours or days, and capable of pulling convenient plot devices out of thin air as the narrative demands.
Thus, narratively speaking, it’s totally reasonable for those guards to expect Horatio to be a ghost expert. He’s a university boy - of course he’s a ghost expert.