It seems like everybody and their dog has an opinion about Hamlet and what this play all means.
Lord knows people write theses, dissertations and lectures about it. Anyone who’s gotten this far in academia has probably read it either for a class or due to peer pressure.
(Yes, peer pressure. My high school had a very toxic literary culture surrounding Hamlet and, on more than one occasion, some people bullied — not me, definitely not me at all, nope, who would do that? — others into reading it.)
It’s safe to say people haven’t shut up about this play since my man, Willy Shakes, published it in 1603. And the analyses and commentaries have been great, don’t get me wrong. It’s a warning tale against procrastination, a novel testament to what it means to be fundamentally human, an exploration of the moralistic divide between the self and state.
I’ve heard it all, but I think people have really missed out on a very key possibility — what if Hamlet just stayed in university and went on cute dates with Horatio instead of screwing everything up back home in Denmark?
I think this is a very valid hypothesis, mostly because it solves literally all of the play’s problems. I mean, Hamlet Senior is still dead and Claudius gets away with murdering him. But hey, Hamlet finds a new daddy in Horatio and Gertrude still has a man in Claudius.
Also, for the killjoys who are saying Hamlet and Horatio weren’t dating — it’s basically accepted among fan forums that they’re in love, at least in the abyss of very serious, very legit English academic society — and I’m rolling with it for this particular argument.
Say what you want about either character’s sexuality, but when Hamlet literally died in Horatio’s arms, Horatio sobbed and threatened suicide because a world without his dear prince was too horrible to live in. So chew on that.
Anyway, the iconic funeral/ wedding/Hamlet’s-temper-tantrum scene happens soon after Horatio confirms all the ghostly stuff is totally legit, and further supports my hypothesis. Claudius tells our protagonist to maybe just chill a little — “Your dad’s dead, yeah it sucks, but he ain’t coming back anytime soon. Please be okay with me having sex with your mom.”
After Hamlet cries about it a little, Horatio rushes in and the sweet prince is absolutely delighted to see his boyfriend. As you all know, a bunch of shit proceeds to happen. Some were less moral than others — couldn’t Hamlet have at least pulled that arras back to make sure he was stabbing the right guy? Geez.
Everything ends with pretty much everyone dead and Fortinbras storming the castle and becoming the new king of Denmark. Horatio’s left behind to tell Hamlet’s story. It’s all very sad.
So I’m just saying, Hamlet should’ve just stayed in Wittenberg and used his mouth for something other than the long-winded soliloquies everyone is so tired of hearing.
The rest doesn’t have to be silence, Hamlet! It can be gay!
Graphic: Yashica Bither