Osric is a courtier sent by Hamlet's uncle Claudius. He invites the Prince of Denmark to fight a duel with Laertes over Hamlet's murder of Polonius, Laertes' father.
While the main purpose of Osric in the play is to inform Hamlet about the duel, Laertes, with his dying breath, infers that Osric was part of Claudius' conspiracy to kill Prince Hamlet. Osric functions on a deeper level as a mockery of the overly extravagant nature of Elizabethan society, especially noblemen and women. The courtier is frequently unaware of the fact that Hamlet and Horatio despise him, and when the prince engages Osric in witty banter, he is actually revealing the superficiality of the court.