Trapped in the Elizabethan Closet
by Larry Zakharenko
The real tragedy of Hamlet is that you didn’t catch on sooner to the Prince of denim and leather chaps. To be – or not to be gay, that is the question that brings Hamlet to his knees.
Considering GhostHunters’ lack of evidence within medieval castles it can be assumed that ghosts do not exist. The “ghost” of King Hamlet may instead be a symbol for the fear and gossip that shrouds homosexuality.
The ghost of Prince Hamlet’s father may represent outdated male stigma over how a father in that time would be disappointed to discover that his son is gay. And who is the one that first spots this ghost? It is Horatio, Prince Hamlet’s gay lover, and it is only these two men who have ever seen the ghost.
Hamlet confesses to Horatio, “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.” Although straight men today express love for the bond between their closest friends, few admit to ‘wearing him in my heart’s core.’
Hamlet then says, “something too much of this,” as if these feelings are too much for him and transcend the boundaries of friendship. It would make sense for Horatio to be Hamlet’s lover because no one else stands so solemnly by his side, even in death.
Do not forget Ophelia, the young maiden who practically throws herself at Hamlet every way she can before being rejected and throwing herself into a pond. Hamlet’s cold-shoulder approach to Ophelia is not out of some “Jerks Get Laid” heterosexual handbook. It’s because Ophelia doesn’t have a penis.
Speaking of penis, when Laertes tries to defend his sister’s honor, Hamlet decides to settle the argument with a “sword” fight – something that Frat boys secretly do after pounding down Natty Light.
So what is it that drives Hamlet to conspire and rebel against Claudius? Let me ask you this, who is the number one enemy of homosexuals? That’s right, rednecks. Claudius married his brother’s wife, styles his political control after Republicans, and hates plays (like the one put on by Hamlet.) On a scale of how redneck and conservative Claudius is, he would be South Carolina.
With a lack of a father figure and oppression from Claudius, Hamlet becomes confused about his own sexuality. But the scene in which Hamlet stabs Polonius is when things really get weird. There is an awkward moment of anger and sexual frustration in which Hamlet holds down his mother over her bed, as if about to rape her. When he leaves her there and abandons the scene of the murder, Hamlet is in fact leaving behind his heterosexuality.
Polonius was someone that wanted to set up his daughter with Hamlet and conspired to send Hamlet to England, the way Christians send their children to Jesus Camps to scare the gay out of them. By vanquishing Polonius he has quelled all confusion and understands who he is. Unfortunately, Hamlet becomes more obsessed with hating Claudius than loving Horatio.
It is well speculated that Shakespeare has written about homosexuality before, and that he himself may have been gay. No matter how you interpret this tragedy, you cannot deny that Hamlet is a character who struggles with internal conflict, indecision, and moral friction.
Many men today struggle with coming out to the world or with finding support from a parental figure. Although Hamlet’s reactions were dramatic, they weren’t far off from interpreting how someone today would be feeling, (minus the Game of Thrones style ending.)
Now that Disney has finally represented a black princess, maybe this gay prince will be your child’s next Disney classic.