Non-Amicable Homosocial Relationships In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Non-Amicable Homosocial Shakespearean Relationships Caroline Lorenzo 09307900 ENG 319 – E Robert Healy Homosocial relationships are not necessarily true friendships. This was proven first by King Claudius’s courtiers, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, in Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. This is not the only Shakespearean play where we witness this phenomenon. Cassio, and Iago in Othello also show us a homosocial relationship that is not amicable. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern embody homosocial relationships and serve as a counterpoint to the true Neo-Platonic friendship represented by Horatio. They have such a close, yet platonic relationship that they have lost individuality. Their relationship is not an expression of their virtue as that of Hamlet and Horatio. Hamlet and Horatio remain individuals, opposed to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who choose to become the faceless tools of patriarchy. By…show more content…
Both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern shamelessly use their homosocial familiarity with Hamlet for their own advantage. Hamlet’s tragic error is not his discarding of his former friends, it is ever trusting passion over reason in the first place. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern abuse his friendship at every turn. They presume to know him well enough to use him by playing on his emotional attachment to them. Horatio, on the other hand, demonstrates the value in Neo-Platonic relationships. Horatio’s pure friendship with Hamlet is a stark contrast to the superficial relationship Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have with the young prince. Horatio’s friendship is not based upon either “pleasure or profit,” the twin forces that Montaigne deems the motives behind most friendships such as the one Hamlet shares with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Instead, Horatio remains a true friend and a shining exception to general expectations of male friendships. His relationship with Hamlet is Neo-Platonic rather than

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