Hamlet - the Importance of Laertes and Fortinbras in Hamlet Essay

1323 Words Dec 17th, 1999 6 Pages
The Shakespearean play, Hamlet, is a story of revenge and the way the characters in the play respond to grief and the demands of loyalty. The importance of Fortinbras and Laertes in the play is an issue much discussed, analysed and critiqued. Fortinbras and Laertes are parallel characters to Hamlet, and they provide pivotal points on which to compare the actions and emotions of Hamlet throughout the play. They are also important in Hamlet as they are imperative to the plot of the play and the final resolution. Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras are three young men who are placed in similar circumstances, that is, to avenge their father's deaths. The way the each comes to terms with their grief and how they rise to the call of vengeance is one …show more content…
When brought to the call of avenging their father's deaths, Laertes is fast to act, he is wants revenge and he wants it immediately. His actions are rash, being based in anger, and Laertes is easily drawn into Denmark's corruption by Claudius. Claudius manipulates Laertes into becoming an ally to kill Hamlet. Laertes is confident of his abilities to regain honour through vengeance: "...my revenge will come."(Act1, 2:78) Contrasting to Laertes' quick response, Hamlet procrastinates. Although Hamlet wants to regain honour by avenging his father's death, Hamlet is dubious of his ability to complete what he promised to the ghost. For two months he procrastinates, and he chides himself for doing so. Hamlet agonizes over what he is to do, and how he is to avenge the murder of his father. Whilst Laertes acts on impulse, and on a tryst with Claudius arising from the emotions of anger and revenge, Hamlet mulls over how he is going to act and defers action until his own procrastination disgusts him into acting. This does not mean, however that Hamlet is unable to act on impulse. Indeed in Act 5, when Laertes and Hamlet jump into Ophelia's grave it shows just how much Hamlet can act impulsively.

However despite the insidious actions of Laertes in proposing the challenge of a duel with Hamlet, Laertes is without the cruelty and vindictiveness of Hamlet.…