Character Analysis of Laertes From 'Hamlet'

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Laertes One of the most important subplots of the play Hamlet is the character of Laertes and how he demands revenge for the slaying of his father. Laertes is an antagonist character in the play Hamlet and works against the main character. However, Claudius is Hamlet's real enemy in the play so Laertes might be classified as a foil rather than a true antagonist. Laertes is an extremely important character to the plot, although his importance is only seen at the end of the play. Therefore, he should be classified as a major character. His actions ultimately begin the final climax of the play's plot. Laertes is the son of the priest Polonius and the older brother of Ophelia, late female companion of Prince Hamlet. At first, Laertes seems to only be a peripheral character but functions to further the plot in the latter half of the play upon his return to Denmark. Towards the beginning of Hamlet Laertes is leaving Denmark to make his place in the world. At the beginning of the play, Polonius speaks to his son and gives him advice because he knows his son's character very well. Famously Polonius tells his boy, "This above all: to thine own self be true" (I. iii. 78). He is told to do what he feels to be right, indicating that if he listens and thinks then maybe he will not err in his actions. Laertes is hot-headed and quick to act, rash behaviors which his father worries will get him into trouble. Physically, no description of Laertes is given, but he is usually played by an
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