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’
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
2always has to make sure he thinks things over before he does anything. Laertes wants to get back at Hamlet for killing his father. “How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with. 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 the worlds I give to negligence. Let come what comes, only I'll be revenged. Most thoroughly for my father”. Act 4 Scene 5. Laertes tires to figure out what happened and how it happened, he is trying to figure out why he was killed and by who. He wants his father to have a proper burial, but he can not find the body because Hamlet hid it in another room. Hamlet and Laertes is so different in so many ways. Hamlet wanted to talk things out and make everyone happy at the end.
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
The difference in the time spent on revenge by the characters is significant because it shows the reader what is expected from a son according to standards of the time. In Act one, Scene three, Laertes is being told the responsibilities of a young man and the importance of protecting the family’s honor. Part of protecting the family’s honor is revenging any wrongful deaths. If one is truly concerned with protecting the family name, seeking vengeance would most likely be a top priority; not something delayed for months on end. Therefore Laertes as a foil for Hamlet is significant because Laertes is a more dutiful son and seeks his vengeance quickly. Since he delays his vengeance for so many months, Hamlet is not a dutiful son. [This is a nice idea, but Fortinbras would be an even better foil to make this point.]
Within the play Hamlet, Shakespeare utilizes Hamlet’s foil, Laertes, by comparing him to Hamlet in multiple aspects of their plans for revenge, to develop the theme of righteous revenge versus personal revenge. Shakespeare begins with contrasting their ideology about their deed by giving Hamlet a positive and righteous mindset about his future task while Laertes has a personal and rash mindset.
In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses revenge as a major theme present throughout the work. Revenge plays a crucial role in the development of Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and Laertes, son of Polonius. All three men seek revenge for the murder of their fathers. Revenge can be interpreted as a separate character in Hamlet. Revenge is set to overcome anyone who seeks it. Initially, after each of the murders, every son had a definite course of action to obtain vengeance. Or in Hamlet's case the choice was to seek no vengeance. As the play unfolds, each young man approaches the desire for revenge and chooses a different path towards gaining it based on the guidance of another character in
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
Laertes found out about his father's death, and immediately returned home. He confronted the King and accused him of the murder of his father. Claudius told Laertes that Hamlet was responsible for his father's death. He then decides to kill Hamlet to avenge the death of his father. He and Claudius concoct a plot to kill Hamlet.
"But I am very sorry, good Horatio, /That to Laertes I forgot myself; /For, by the image of my cause, I see/The portraiture of his" (V.2). In seeking to revenge, Hamlet accidentally stabs Polonius, the king's advisor, thus killing the father of Laertes. Hamlet acknowledges, with his sense of higher justice and objectivity, that Laertes has a reason for hating him, given that he is also a parricide. There is a sharp, circular irony to this cycle of revenge. Similarly, Ophelia is driven mad by the death of her father and kills herself. Hamlet, while much of his madness is assumed, is also driven to a state of emotional distress. Laertes, Hamlet, and Ophelia all act irrationally in ways that bring about their death because of the extremity of their grief.
Laertes, a foil to Hamlet in the play, faces similar problems as Hamlet. Laertes learns Hamlet is responsible for the death of his father, Polonius by Claudius. But, in Act III Scene iv, Polonius was hiding behind the arras of the Queen Gertrude’s room and Hamlet killed him accidentally. Claudius took the opportunity to use his manipulative skills and convince Laertes he should kill Hamlet for what he did (Cruttwell). Claudius’ speech to Laertes implies that not acting would show no love for his father, “Not that I think you did not love your father, but that I know love is begun by time, and that I see in passages of proof”(IV. vii. 111-113). Claudius’ tone influences Laertes to immediately seek revenge on