Grief for a Father's Death: Hamlet's vs. Laertes' Essay

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In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Laertes and Hamlet both lose a father by unnatural and sudden death. The unnatural death of the father is brought on by someone close to the son. When Laertes discovers that his father is dead, he is outraged. When Hamlet learns from the ghost of his father's murder, he weeps, and promises action, though he delivers none. Both Laertes and Hamlet grieve deeply for their fathers, but Laertes acts upon this grief while Hamlet carefully plots his revenge and waits for the perfect moment to avenge King Hamlet. Laertes' unplanned action causes his death by his own sword, while Hamlet's apparent inaction finally gets him the revenge that Laertes has attempted. Though Laertes' grief at his father's death causes his…show more content…
When Laertes learns that Hamlet has killed his father, he immediately goes along with the king's plan to kill Hamlet. Laertes agrees to "be ruled" by the King so that Hamlet "shall not choose but fall; / And for his death no wind if blame shall breathe, / But even his mother shall…call it accident" (4.7. 69, 65-68). Laertes has lost all form of conscience because of his anger towards Hamlet, he even wants "to cut [Hamlet's] throat i' the church" which is a grave offense that would surely send Laertes to Hell (4.7.127). Hamlet, on the other hand, spends much of his time plotting how he will gain his revenge. He has "heard / That guilty creatures sitting at a play…have proclaimed their malefactions…/ Before mine uncle, I'll observe his looks…If ‘a do blench, / I know my course" (2.2.589-90, 593, 597.598-9). Hamlet chooses to show the King a play, very like that of Claudius' own murderous deed, in order to cause a reaction. When "the King rises" unexpectedly, Hamlet gains some evidence of the King's guilt, beyond the word of a ghost. Laertes and Hamlet each set out to avenge the deaths of their fathers, but they end up committing far worse crimes than those crimes that they were punishing. When Laertes and Claudius invite Hamlet to a duel, they intend "To cut his throat i' the church…[and] Requite him for [Laertes'] father" (4.7.127, 140). Because the King is afraid

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