Hamlet's Softer Side Essay

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Throughout Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the titular character Hamlet acts as an indecisive, histrionic college man, but this personality does not completely characterize him. In many instances, Hamlet proves himself to be an understanding and compassionate prince towards his confidants. Because many of his friends and family have disappointed him, Hamlet puts on a persona that divulges his conflicting nature in which he acts crazy but is really sane. Before Hamlet puts on his fictitious play, he gives an honest speech to Horatio that reveals Hamlet’s most sensitive traits.
Hamlet begins his list of praise by explicitly stating that his following words do not flatter Horatio. Since Horatio “[has no revenue] but thy good spirits/ To feed and
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Hamlet thinks of himself and Horatio as a man’s man and values masculinity in his male friends. Even though Hamlet acts uncharacteristically emotional at times, he also seems like the manly prince that his people adore.
Hamlet then shifts his focus to his friendship with Horatio as he segues into his main point with how he chooses his friends. Hamlet sees himself as a “mistress” when he chooses his friends such as Horatio (III.ii.65). Since a mistress is authoritative, Hamlet sees himself as very decisive in this matter. Because Hamlet is a royal prince, his friends must be a select group. Hamlet’s process seems like an elite “election” and calls attention to his obsessive personality that borders on paranoia (III.ii.66). Watching his friends and family betray him, Hamlet has the right to feel overly aware of his friends. Although this madness makes Hamlet appear crazy, it implies that Hamlet values his friendships highly since he has few.
Transitioning to Horatio’s best qualities, Hamlet reveals his insecurity about the uncertainty of life and the fates Fortune deals. Hamlet despises Fortune as he thinks she plays with people’s lives without care, so he holds Horatio in high regard because he “,in suff’ring all, ... suffers nothing” (III.ii.66). Hamlet obviously exaggerates the extent to which Horatio’s experiences have been,

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