Every time I read the play Hamlet, I can’t help but question the relationship between Hamlet and Horatio.  The term bromance has been used to describe other relationships between men in the plays we have studied so far, but to me this relationship seems to go deeper than that.  This deeper relationship also seems to be more one sided with Horatio’s feelings and devotion not being reciprocated by Hamlet. 

In the opening acts of the play Horatio says “Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it, As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?” (1.1.153). The word love is used many times while Horatio is talking about Hamlet.  I know that I love my friends, and I might even say it to them, but it’s not just the words that Horatio speaks that makes me question, it is his actions as well.  Horatio is devoted to Hamlet, continually at his service ready to serve him.  This does not seem like something one does just for a friend, I mean I know that I would not.  I am trying to remember that this was written in a different time, but that still does not seem to help.  

The exchange between the two men towards the beginning of Act 3 scene 2 seems to bring me back to the questioning.  Horatio seems to be using terms of endearment when addressing Hamlet, and Hamlet responds, “Nay, do not think I flatter; For what advancement may I hope from thee That no revenue hast but thy good spirits, To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered? No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp, And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee Where thrift may follow fawning” (3.2.49).  He continues on to say “Give me 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” (3.2.64).  To me these are mixed signals, and very confusing about the way that Hamlet feels towards Horatio.  It also leads me to question if Hamlet knows that Horatio’s feelings for him are more than just a friend.

I know that there are many things that I would do for my best friends, but there is a point where I draw the line.  The things that Horatio does for Hamlet are things that I would do for my significant other, not my friends which leads me back to my questioning.


One thought on “Hamlet

  1. laurenabou

    I agree with you, I think there may be a little bit more then “just friends” between Hamlet and Horatio. This makes me think back to a discussion I had in my English Literature 1 class last semester. Mainly about Shakespeare and some of his sonnets that allude to a “lover” of the same sex. We will never truly know if Shakespeare was in fact in love with some male figure at a point in his life (many sonnets allude to a male figure), but this relationship between Hamlet and Horatio might portray a past relationship in Shakespeare’s life. Back then it was a different kind of love for two men. There may been some kind of attraction that goes deeper then it should but partially because men were a dominant figure of this time. Just think, they wouldn’t even stage women to play women roles in plays, they had the men do it instead because women were thought as “incapable”. For two individuals to be spending a lot of time with one another, in this case Hamlet and Horatio the “love” deepens almost like the relationship between Sebastian and Antonio in Twelfth Night. Antonio basically sacrifices himself and puts himself in danger because of his “fascination”, “love” for Sebastian. It’s almost like you are my friend, basically all I have right not and I am going to do anything to protect you. But I do agree, especially more so now a days that yes we “love” our friends and may tell them that we “love” them but then there are certain actions that allude to what kind of love it is and there are certain places where you draw the line.


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