On the other hand, Laertes wants to revenge his father’s death. Therefore this mistake murder leads Hamlet to his downfall as Claudius and Laertes want to kill him.
It is without doubt that William Shakespeare has created many unique, thought - provoking characters. Hamlet is by far Shakespeare's most compelling character. In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, various character traits, exhibited by Hamlet, can be seen through his foils. Similarities with Hamlet and Horatio's education, as well as their levels, can be drawn. However, Hamlet's character is in constant change and even philosophical. Fortinbras, without question encompasses many of Hamlet's qualities. They are both born with nobility, along with a similar lineage. However, Fortinbras is more aggressive and even sneaky. Laertes, Hamlet's late antagonist, is both impulsive and righteous. However, they differ in terms of their nobility, as well as
Laertes also brings revenge and betrayal out of Hamlet. Though an enemy, Laertes is a foil to Hamlet. Laertes helps in the development of Hamlet through the similarities they share. These include anger over the death of their fathers, and desire to exact revenge. Betrayal is also relevant because Laertes betrays Claudius in the end, revealing his plan to kill Hamlet. Hamlet betrays his father by verbally abusing his mother, against the wishes of his father. The differences between the two men are very strong. Hamlet would not kill Claudius in the church because he was praying. Laertes, however stated that he would kill Hamlet in a church, praying or not. Another difference is that Hamlet cannot be a man of action and a man of thought at the same time. He does not use his mind when he acts. He just acts. When he is pondering something, he is unable to act out his thoughts, and keeps quiet. Laertes, however, is able to act while thinking. He finds out that Hamlet killed his father and immediately devises a plan to kill him. This flaw makes Hamlet dangerous to himself, and is ultimately his downfall.
Hamlet (prince of Denmark) can be greatly compared to Laertes (son of a noble), and Fortinbras (prince of Norway) in the play. They all are very similar but yet different at the same time. They all had love and respect for their fathers and felt the need to avenge their deaths, which all were brutally killed. All three believed that the murderers had dishonoured their fathers as well as themselves. They all reacted and took different approaches in attempt to restore honour in their families.
In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the characters of Laertes and Hamlet both display impulsive reactions when angered. Once Laertes discovers his father has been murdered, he immediately assumes the slayer is Claudius. As a result of Laertes' speculation, he instinctively moves to avenge Polonius' death. "To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil! Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit! I dare damnation: to this point I stand, that both worlds I give to negligence, let come what comes; only I'll be revenged most thoroughly for my father." Act 4 Scene 5 lines 128-134 provide insight into Laertes' mind, displaying his desire for revenge at any cost.
To begin with, Laertes is the most similar foil to Hamlet when it comes to circumstance and rage. They both want revenge for their father’s death, though their method of revenge are different. Laertes is a man of action and wants to get revenge right away after learning that his father Polonius has been killed. In contrast to Laertes, Hamlet does not even make public knowledge of his father’s murder. Laertes doesn’t procrastinate his attempt at revenge like Hamlet. However, he is very shallow and Hamlet is a genius in comparison. Hamlet thinks of ways to plan his revenge against Claudius, though it is his tendency to overthink that leads him to his tragic flaw. He himself realizes that Laertes is put in a similar position to himself. “I’ll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance your skill shall, like a star i’ the darkest night, Stick fiery off indeed” (V.ii.5-7). Rage is another emotion the characters have in common. When Laertes learns of his father’s death, he gets enraged and wants to get revenge instantly. "To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil! Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit! I dare damnation: to this point I stand, that both worlds I give to negligence, let come what comes; only I'll be revenged most thoroughly for my father." (Act 4 Scene 5 lines 128-134). Laertes says to Claudius that he will honor his father when he says that he was “in deed his father’s son more than in words” and that he will kill Hamlet. “To cut his throat i’
In Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Hamlet there are similarities between Hamlet, Fortinbras, and Laertes. They do have some character differences but they face many of the same challenges and are put in similar situations. All three of the men have lost their fathers and are seeking to avenge their deaths in some way. Hamlet is contemplating killing Claudius, Fortinbras has gathered an army to reclaim lands that his father lost, and Laertes will do whatever it takes to get revenge for Polonius’ death. The main difference between the three men is that Fortinbras and Laertes are willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goal while Hamlet spends the majority of his time in thought trying to decide the right thing to do.
A foil is a minor character that helps the audience better understand a major character. A foil may exist as a comparison character, with similarities between the two, as well as differences that bring to light an important contrast between the foil and the main character. A foil may also just be someone for the main character to talk to, so we can know and understand their thoughts and feelings. Foils help us understand the obvious as well as the arcane. In the classic tragedy Hamlet, we see William Shakespeare employ foils to illustrate both examples. They become important literary tools that help the reader rationalize the concurrent theme of the play -
A more noteworthy comparison between Hamlet and Laertes would be each man’s intense relationship with Ophelia, the former’s love interest and the latter’s sister. Both men are passionately preoccupied with Ophelia’s actions, mainly those pertaining to her sexuality, but in different ways. Prior to the events in the play Hamlet actively pursues a romance with Ophelia, but during his staged madness he violently criticizes her for acting at all interested in his advances. As the play progresses Hamlet flips back and forth between sneering at Ophelia and declaring his love for her, but in either case he shows an obvious devotion to the girl. Laertes holds the same amount of devotion, but towards protecting her from Hamlet and anything else that may compromise her virtue. When he is told of her descent into
It is evident that Hamlet's character and nature, which leads to his action of revenge, is that based on reason, while Laertes's form of revenge is that based on passion and impulse.
Laertes is a mirror to Hamlet. Hamlet is a scholar at Wittenberg, and Laertes at France. Both are admired for their swordsmanship. Both men loved and respected their fathers, and displayed some dishonesty when plotting to avenge their father's deaths.
Betrayal was also a similarity shared by the two. Hamlet betrayed his father when he speaks spitefully toward his mother in her chambers. Laertes betrays King Claudius in the end when he tells of the plot to kill Hamlet. The two characters had many things in common but they also had differences. The biggest difference between the two was their haste at revenging their fathers. Hamlet thought a lot about how and when to kill Claudius. Hamlet was concerned about much more than just the revenge of his father. He was worried about his own salvation and the salvation of King Claudius. Laertes did not contemplate at all about the revenge of his father. He first thought it was King Claudius that killed his father and brought a rebellion to the castle to kill the King. When Laertes found out that it was Hamlet he just wanted to kill him, it was King Claudius who devised a plan and thought out the murder of Hamlet. The biggest difference in their attitudes toward revenge is shown by the fact that Hamlet would not kill Claudius in prayer because he might go to heaven, but Laertes didn't care and said that he would kill Hamlet in the church. This clearly differentiates the amount of thought put into revenge between the two characters. The similarities between the characters allow the audience to compare them, but the more important use of this foil is the difference. Aristotle
Laertes serves a foil to Hamlet, although they are not similar in birth, they are similar in that they both have a dear father murdered. Using this parallel, Shakespeare uses Laertes to show what Hamlet should be doing, contrasting Laertes’s words of action to Hamlet’s own words of action. We see this most clearly when Laertes is talking with Claudius and he says that he will “cut [Hamlet’s] throat i' th' church” to avenge his father, this contrasts directly with Hamlet who decides not to kill a praying Claudius when he has the chance (4.7.144). Laertes also serves as external conflict as he challenges Hamlet to a fight and is convinced by Claudius to kill Hamlet with a poisoned sword. Without this fight, who knows if Hamlet would have gotten around to kill Claudius? But when we really look at Laertes’ words and consequent action, we see another similarity with Hamlet, both are rash and passionate. This is significant because
Of Horatio we know best that what distinguishes him from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and indeed from Polonius, Ophelia, Laertes, and Gertrude, is that Claudius cannot use him. Critics have remarked upon Horatio’s ambiguously shifting status at the court of Denmark, and the late William Empson confessed a certain irritation at Hamlet’s discovery of virtues in Horatio that the prince could not find in himself. Yet Shakespeare gives us a Hamlet we must love while knowing our inferiority, since he has the qualities we lack, and so he also gives us Horatio, our representative, who loves so stoically for the rest of us. Horatio is loyal, and limited; skeptical as befits a fellow student of the profoundly skeptical Hamlet, yet never skeptical about Hamlet. Take Horatio out of the play, and you take us out of the play. The plot could be rearranged to spare the wretched Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, even to spare Laertes, let alone Fortinbras, but remove Horatio, and Hamlet becomes so estranged from us that we scarcely can hope to account for that universality of appeal which is his, and the play’s, most original characteristic. (5)
In William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet, Laertes, Fortinbras and Hamlet find themselves in similar situations. While Hamlet waits for the right time to avenge his father's death, Laertes learns of his father's death and immediately wants vengeance, and Fortinbras awaits his chance to recapture land that used to belong to his father. Laertes and Fortinbras go about accomplishing their desires quite differently than Hamlet. While Hamlet acts slowly and carefully, Laertes and Fortinbras seek their revenge with haste. Although Laertes and Fortinbras are minor characters, Shakespeare molds them in order to contrast with Hamlet. Fortinbras and, to a greater extent, Laertes act as foils to Hamlet with respect to their motives for