Hamlet and the Hamratio Parody-Ship: A Rant

Hamlet New Year's Resolution
© Shmoop Editorial Team

Over the past week, my English class has subjected me to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.  This was only the second piece I’d read by Shakespeare.  However, despite having thoroughly enjoyed Macbeth, I found Hamlet to be tedious, boring, and cliché.  Throughout my reading, I was only vaguely fond of one character: Horatio.  I found everyone else to be confusing; boring; annoying; bipolar; emo; or just a despicable, back-stabbing liar without a shred of loyalty.  Perhaps in a desperate attempt to entertain myself, however, I found myself witnessing a highly amusing subplot, an unintentional drama that was the only part of Hamlet to interest me and draw me into the story— a story that Shakespeare never expected to exist.  Thus, behold, the Hamratio ship.

Textual Evidence: Shakespeare’s Hidden Fanfiction

All of this is directly from Hamlet, although I have excluded everything that didn’t pertain  to the Hamratio ship.  The only other changes I have made are to format it as prose rather than poetry for my own sanity.

Horatio: Hail to your lordship!

Hamlet: I am glad to see you well: Horatio! — or I do forget myself.

Horatio: The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.

Hamlet: But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?

Horatio: A truant disposition, good my lord.

Hamlet: I would not hear your enemy say so, nor shall you do mine ear that violence, to make it truster of your own report against yourself: I know you are no truant.  But what is your affair in Elsinor?  We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.

Horatio: My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral.

Hamlet: I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student; I think it was to see my mother’s wedding.

Horatio: Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.

Hamlet: Horatio, thou art e’en as just a man as e’er my conversation coped withal.

Horatio: O, my dear lord–

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?  No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp, and crook the pregnant hinges of the knee where thrift may follow fawning.  Dost thou hear?  Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice and could of men distinguish, her election hath seal’d thee for herself, 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: and blest are those whose blood and judgment are so well commeddled, 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.

Later, Hamlet duels Laertes.  At once, Hamlet’s mother accidentally poisons herself with a drink meant for Hamlet, Hamlet is stabbed with a poisoned sword by Laertes then stabs Laertes with the same sword, then Hamlet stabs his murderous uncle-father with the poisoned sword and forces him to drink some of the remaining poison.  At last, only Horatio and the dying Hamlet are left.  Observe:

Hamlet: I am dead, Horatio.  You that look pale and tremble at this chance, that are but mutes or audience to this act, had I but time—as this fell sergeant, death, is strict in his arrest—O, I could tell you—But let it be.  Horatio, I am dead; thou livest.  Report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied.

Horatio: Never believe it: I am more an antique Roman than a Dane: here’s yet some liquor left.

Hamlet: As thou’rt a man, give me the cup: let go, by heaven, I’ll have’t.  O good Horatio, what a wounded name, things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!  If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart absent thee from felicity awhile, and in this harsh word draw thy breath in pain, to tell my story.

O, I die, Horatio; the potent poison quite o’er-crows my spirit: I cannot live to hear the news from England; but I do prophesy the election lights on Fortinbras: he has my dying voice; so tell him, with the occurrents, more and less, which have solicited.  The rest is silence.


Horatio: Now cracks a noble heart.  Good night sweet prince: and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!  Let me speak to the yet unknowing world how these things came about.  So shall you hear of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause, and, in this upshot, purposes mistook fall’n on th’ inventors’ heads: all this can I truly deliver.

My Interpretation:

“Hey, Hamlet,” said Horatio.

“Horatio!  It’s great to see you,” Hamlet returned with false ease.  “What brings you here all the way from college?”

“I felt like slacking off, I guess.”

“Don’t insult yourself, Horatio!  I know you’re not a slacker.  But why are you here?”

“I came for your father’s funeral.”

“Don’t pretend, Horatio.  I think it was for my mom’s wedding.”

“It did happen pretty quickly after.”

“Look, I’m really glad to see you because…” Hamlet trailed off, wanting to end the sentence differently, but not daring to do so.  “Look, Horatio, right now I just…I trust your judgment more than mine right now.”

“Oh, Hamlet…” Horatio tried to protest, his traitorous heart lifting in hope at the compliment.

“No, dude, I mean it.  I mean, you’re so poor I couldn’t hope to gain anything from it.  The poor shouldn’t be flattered; only the rich.  Look, I’m pretty good at, like, judging guys’…people’s…like, character and one of the things I really, like, like about you is that you’re logical and you don’t really, like, let things get to you.  You can put things in perspective like I can’t; you take negative stuff in stride.  You aren’t, like, a slave to passion, and so you…hold a special place in my heart,” Hamlet said in a rush, knowing he was saying too much, was confessing feelings that could change things forever.

“Hamlet?” Horatio asked, barely daring to hope.

Hamlet blanched suddenly, the full weight of his words’ meaning hitting him.

“What are you saying exactly?” Horatio persisted, hoping he wasn’t totally misreading the situation.

“That…Um…That I need your advice on something?” Hamlet squeaked, knowing it could have been convincing if it didn’t sound like a question, if he could just make eye contact with his friend, the unrealized possibility mocking him.  Suddenly he hoped very much that Uncle Claudius never straight-up asked if Hamlet was trying to kill him.

“Like what?”

“Well…I think my uncle killed my dad so he could marry my mom.”  Good.  Change the subject.

Well, that was new.  Horatio really looked at Hamlet for the first time.  The same long, black bangs always in his eyes, the same black skinny jeans covered in cat hair; he was tall and skinny as ever.  Nothing new there.  Nothing that looked crazy.  “Dude, that’s so many levels of creepy I don’t even want to go there.  What makes you think that?”

“Well, I woke up the other morning, and I was just doing my thing, you know, writing in my dream journal and thinking about Ophelia and stuff,” Hamlet started, mentally correcting himself: Well, not Ophelia…  “And I was writing down this weird dream I had about my dad.  It was, like, I dunno.  Like, Uncle Claudius killed Dad ’cause he was having an affair with mom, or something.  And, I mean, this was right next to the entry about the deep, churning abyss of sorrow and loss I feel for my dad and all the insecure confusion and anger I’ve been feeling about my mom remarrying so soon.  And then I’m really mad at my Uncle Claudius because the other day he told me that I should, like, get over my dad and man up and stuff and started, like, telling me what a girl I am and stuff.  So I figured it was just a reflection of that, you know?”

“Yeah…” Horatio really didn’t know, but he knew Hamlet wasn’t about to stop a monologue because his friend was confused.

“But then I started thinking,” Hamlet continued, sweeping his raven bangs out of his eyes.  “It sorta makes sense.  I mean, how quick him and mom got married- I mean, there were actually leftovers from the funeral at their wedding.  It just…It’s not right.  And Uncle Claudius…I mean, that was his brother’s death he’s telling me to get over.”

“Yeah, but…Hamlet…”

“I know it sounds crazy.  And maybe it is.  But I can’t keep doing this Horatio!  I mean, I miss Dad, and I wanna just talk to him.  You know, get his advice.  Ask him what I should do.  I mean, he was perfectly healthy, and he just died?!

“And I was kind of thinking that…Well, it would be a lot easier just to follow him,” Hamlet whispered, fighting back tears.

“What?” Horatio asked.  “Dude!  No!”

“I know, Horatio.  I know that wouldn’t be right either.  But I miss him,” Hamlet said, his emotions pouring out to Horatio as easily as if his friend were his dream journal.  “And Uncle Claudius is being horrible, and Mom doesn’t even seem to care, and they don’t want me to go back to school, and…”

“And you also have a lot to live for Hamlet.  Anyway, what would Ophelia do?”

“Ophelia?  I dunno.  Who cares?”

“Well, I would guess you do.  You know, since she’s your girlfriend and all.”

“Ophelia’s not my girlfriend.”

“She’s not?  Why?  You talk about her all the time.”

“No.  I mean, if she were to, like, accidentally drown herself, I’d totally get into a fight with her brother and profess my undying love to her corpse, but, short of that, I really couldn’t care less.  I mean, she’s, like, the antithesis to everything I’m looking for in a relationship.”

“Huh.  What are you looking for, then?”

“I dunno.  Just, you know, someone who’s really logical and level-headed, and can still think for themselves, and…Someone who would understand my soliloquies.  That’s the big thing.”

“Ophelia doesn’t understand your soliloquies?!” Horatio asked, shocked.

“No one understands my soliloquies, Horatio.  No one but you and the occasional annoying English teacher five hundred years from now…”

“Well.  I think you may want to consider revising your list, then.”

Hamlet took a deep breath.  “Why?”

“‘Cause I’m…A guy?”

“Really Horatio?  The overly-emotional poems?  The dream journal?  The deep, churning abyss of sorrow?  You haven’t figured it out yet?”

“Seriously?!  Dude, that’s awesome!  I’ve been secretly in love with you since we were first forced upon some poor unsuspecting AP English student!”

Later, Hamlet duels Laertes.  At once, Hamlet’s mother accidentally poisons herself with a drink meant for Hamlet, Hamlet is stabbed with a poisoned sword by Laertes then stabs Laertes with the same sword, then Hamlet stabs his murderous uncle-father with the poisoned sword and forces him to drink some of the remaining poison.  At last, only Horatio and the dying Hamlet are left.  Observe:

“I’m dying, Horatio,” said Hamlet.  “I wish I had time to say something comforting, but I’m dying, and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.  Tell my story to clear my name.”

“No,” said the grieving Horatio.  “There’s still poison in the cup; I’m not brave enough to go on living.”

“Give me the cup, Horatio.  Let go!” demanded Hamlet, wresting the cup from Horatio and drinking it.  “Oh, Horatio, everyone will think of me as a murderer!  If you ever cared about me, you have to go out and correct them.  It might be painful, but let me live on in your story.  Tell them the truth; tell them how I overthought things and how fond I was of lengthy soliloquies.”  There was a silence, then Hamlet’s last breath echoed about the room as though it were a ghost’s sigh.

“Good night, Hamlet,” said Horatio.  “I hope angels guide you through death.  I will tell your story to the world.”

Cara Kennaway sig


7 thoughts on “Hamlet and the Hamratio Parody-Ship: A Rant

  1. I’m guessing Lady Cara wrote this…. I’m thinking we really should sign with our names or something.

    Anyway, brilliantly put. I for one, do not appreciate Shakespeare at all, so your layman terms version was rather amusing. (as wacky as the ship is…)

    1. Thanks, Aloisa! (Identity problem solved, by the way- I was going to email you about that.) I did like Macbeth, but Hamlet just…Didn’t cut it.
      And now I have a 6-week long unit on it. Excuse me while I go kill myself. (Thanks, Hammie, for making the whole “to be or not to be” question easy for me.)


    And I mean it, Cara – write more fanfiction. More Shakespearean stuff, Harry Potter stuff, Twain stuff, whatever. Because you rock at it. :)

    1. Haha! Thanks, Pearl. By the way, I recently found out that Hamratio is actually a ship. Like, people are actually still writing fanfiction about Shakespeare and shipping Hamratio. Seriously. Google it. It is a dark and scary world.
      Also, I thought this was the perfect version of Hamlet for the ship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb7jem7S6OM. If you can suffer through it, it will pay off.

      And thanks for the little ego boost on fanfiction. But I can never be part of HP fanfiction, because…They DEFILED it! With STUPID IDEAS! And I can never be as genius as Twain. Haterfiction may be a future option, though. :-D

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