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[I generally use the Folio version for this quote--"our philosophy," rather than  "your philosophy," but I figured Horatio's philosophy probably dreams of less slash than Hamlet's. Because, sheesh, Horatio's always like "wharrawaahh??" <i>oblivious</i> when Hamlet's trying to sex him up (see below), meanwhile, Hamlet's off 'proving a point' with Ros, Guil, and a recorder. Antic disposition, my ass.]

So. Hamlet/Horatio. My guess is anyone's who's read Hamlet isn't going to contest this pairing too very much and is probably familiar with all these quotes, but here they are anyway, notated for enhanced credibility!

1. It's Shakespeare. Shakespeare. Really?

2. They undress address each other by the formal "you" in company, but always by the intimate "thee, thou" when they're alone. They're supposed to be BFFs--why the discrepancy? Down-playing their closeness in public, perhaps?

3. Act I, Scn V, lns 133-144:

HAMLET  Why, right; you are i' the right;
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
You, as your business and desire shall point you;
For every man has business and desire,
Such as it is; and for mine own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.

HORATIO  These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.

HAMLET  I'm sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, 'faith heartily.

HORATIO  There's no offence, my lord.

HAMLET  Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you:
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster 't as you may. "

(Slashy) Translation:

Hamlet: You guys go do what you want. 'Cos, you know, everybody has wants *significant glance at Horatio.* Yep, wants. Desires, even. --Well, I'm going to go "pray," just in case anyone wants to come find me later for an intimate tete-a-tete. And I do mean intimate.

Horatio: You're sexy I mean upsex I MEAN UPSET-- JAYSUS!  

Hamlet: Yeah. I'm sorry---heartily sorry. Heart. Get it? It's heartily  'cos I love you.

Horatio: Aw. It's okay.

Hamlet: No, it really isn't. 'Cos I love you. Have some sensual language like "touching this vision here" and "your desire to know what is between us" and "O'ermaster't." Also this is a hint that I trust you with my my secret regarding the Ghost, but Marcellus is around so I have to make both of you swear. Sorry it seems like I don't trust you.

4. Act III, Scn II Lns 52-74 Slashy translation is (()) this time


HORATIO  Here, sweet lord, at your service. ((ILU, OMG))

HAMLET  Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
As e'er my conversation coped withal. ((I'm super glad you exist))

HORATIO  O, my dear lord,-- ((*soils trousers*))

HAMLET  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 flatter'd? ((for real, I'm not kidding. I've got nothing to gain from you because we're engaged in a mutual relationship of respect and love))
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. ((Have some thinly-veiled sensual language about oral sex)) Dost thou hear? ((Did you hear me just talk about oral sex?))
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal'd thee for herself ((ILU 4EVR)) ; for thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing,
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks ((you're great because you don't take any crap from people)): and blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. 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. ((btw LOVE.))

5. Hamlet calls Horatio "Damon, dear" (Act III, Scn II, Ln275) which is "appropriately addressed to one who has the ancient virtues of the golden age before the realm was 'dismantled'" (Jenkins)--so that's Hamlet telling Horatio he's awesome-- I love the [probably] unintentional use of "dismantled"--it makes it sound like Hamlet's saying "Horatio, you were great even before you took your clothes off!" wow. sub-subtext.

6. Hamlet signs his letter to Horatio "He that thou knowest thine,"  (Act IV, Scn VII, Ln 27). Does it get any more homosexual obvious?

7. SHEESH the entire death scene (Act V, Scn II, Lns 358-365) Horatio attempts to kill himself rather than live life without Hamlet. Hamlet's like "nuh-uuh--I love you too much. Also, tell my story 'cos you won't screw it up." Then, of coruse, there's the whole "More antique Roman than a Dane" which I think could definitely be a reference to not only the Roman tradition of servants killing themselves to die with their masters, but also buttsecks.  Because buttsecks is very Roman.

Yep. Hope I didn't miss anything.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 28th, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
Oooh haven't seen Hamlet for ages and ages; since I was little. And I didn't pick up on the subtext back then. Must read. And I've got over a year before I see the play in London with JUDE LAW. *totally isn't name-dropping and trying to impress people by talking about that vision of loveliness which is Jude Law*

Does anyones know if the film with Larry Olivier is at all slashy? Cos I want to see that anyway, and if it's at all possible that I can slash something with Olivier I am going to be very very happy XD.
Oct. 5th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
I've seen a lot of hamlet films...I didn't think the Olivier one was particuarly slashy (or even good actually, I know, hate me if you want). For some good Hamlet/Horatio I would go for Brangaugh (I can't spell that man's name) or the modern one with Ethan Hawke. There both pretty hard to find, but good if you can get them. Btw, I LOVE Hamlet/horatio!!!
May. 28th, 2008 10:38 am (UTC)
Whatever edition I have--can't remember now if it was Folio or Quarto or one with bits of the other--never once had Horatio using 'thee'/'thou' to address Hamlet while he's alive (there was the famous 'thee' at Hamlet's death, but no others). I know this, because I searched it exhaustively for any class-transgressive form of address. ^_^;; Did your edition have any others?
May. 28th, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
Did you hear me just talk about oral sex?

I love you. Also, YES. Not to mention the fact that, overall, Horatio is pretty much THE only person Hamlet does not intentionally drive to distraction with mad language, confusion, and wildly intelligent distrust. He does drive Horatio to distraction in . . . certain ways, of course.
May. 29th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
I always thought it was curious/wonderful that Hamlet shows more affection towards Horatio than he EVER does to Ophelia or Gertrude or anyone else ever. That "He that thou knowest thine" signature is literally the sweetest and gayest way to sign a letter just about ever.
Have you ever read Harold Bloom's book, "Hamlet: Poem Unlimited"? There's a whole chapter about Horatio in it, and it's my favorite chapter of any book. He talks a lot about how, of all Hamlet's friends and confidants, Horatio is the only one who sticks around. Marcellus disappears after a scene or two, and Hamlet decides he can't trust Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Anyway, the point here is that there's this great line in Bloom's text where he says, "All that we know of Horatio is that Claudius does not even try to suborn him, which renders him unique at Elsinore. What matters is that Horatio loves Hamlet, and desires no existence apart from the prince." I nearly cried at that line. It's so pure and simple and true. So there, Harold Bloom, literary expert, agrees with Hamlet/Horatio. ;)
Bloom also spends a lot of time talking about how Horatio is what allows us to understand Hamlet better, because Hamlet trusts him so much and shares so much with him. Because Hamlet loves him. a lot.

I've also seen Hamlet played where Horatio and Hamlet have so much subtext it's nearly overt. In one production I saw, not only were they constantly all touchy with each other (there was enough face grabbing and close talking and near kissing to make me faint for joy), but Hamlet took every excuse to pull Horatio away from the crowds and whisper to him in private. When Hamlet and Horatio first meet up in the action of the play, Hamlet ran and leapt into Horatio's arms and wrapped his legs around his waist. It was SO cute. The first time the ghost appears, Hamlet jumped backwards and Horatio caught him.
My friends and I came out of that production, and all of them were going, "What was up with Hamlet and Horatio." And I was like, "IT'S JUSTIFIED BY THE TEXT."

Have you (btw and on a semi-unrelated note), read Kit Marlowes 'Edward the Second'? It's not almost cannon slash, it's CANNON. Edward and his 'favorite' Gaveston talk about how much they love each other all the time. It's so cute. And there's totally boy-kissing. Seriously. There're so many stage directions that are like, "they embrace." THANK YOU KIT MARLOWE! He was such an awesome Elizabethan writer.
May. 29th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
They do have a lot of semi-canonical slash potential, don't they? You argued that so well. I really don't think you did miss anything. Except the Hamlet/Laertes slash, that is ;)
Jun. 4th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
So, yeah. Saw this at the Shakespeare Free-For-All the other weekend, and all I could think of the entire time was, wow. Hamlet/Horatio, much? Especially since the actor playing Hamlet (Jeffrey Carlson?) had a tendency for flailing about grabbing Horatio by the lapels and speaking, like, an inch away from his face.

Also? No Fear Shakespeare graphic novels for the win.
Jun. 11th, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
OMG!!! Did you see this in Ontario by any chance?? If so, yeh Ben Carlson's Hamlet was CONSTANTLY grabbing/hugging horatio...it was cute!
Jun. 15th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
I totally saw the production of Hamlet at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival! I'm just a recent Hamlet/Horatio convert so I totally wasn't looking for any gay undertones when I saw the play a couple months ago. (It was AMAZING, btw.)
Jun. 15th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah! Stratford, thats the one! Lol well yeah, I wasn't really looking perse, but I did notice some little things too lol.
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, so much about the play only makes sense if you assume that Hamlet and Horatio are lovers. For instance, why would nobody seem to care that the King's brother took the throne, rather than his adult son? Clearly it's at least suspected that he's *ahem* not going to produce heirs.

I'd come to this conclusion a while back, but not that long ago my dad came running into the kitchen in the middle of the night shouting that he'd had a great epiphany, and when I asked what it was he looks at me, all excited, and says to me "Hamlet was gay with Horatio!" like it was news. It was pretty hilarious, really
Nov. 10th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)
Hello, I actually just read Hamlet for English and went on a desperate search for some Hamlet slash...namely Hamlet/Horatio. Although it isn't fic, it is beautiful and makes me want to speak like Shakespeare's characters do. I think I love H/H more for this. :D
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )