The Examination of Hamlet and Laertes as Foils Essay

946 WordsFeb 14, 20134 Pages
William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet relays Hamlet’s quest to avenge the murder of his father, the king of Denmark. The late King Hamlet was murdered by his brother, Claudius, who took the throne and Hamlet’s mother Gertrude for himself. Hamlet is beseeched by the ghost of his father to take vengeance upon Claudius; while he swears to do so, the prince inexplicably delays killing Claudius for months on end. Hamlet’s feeble attempt to first confirm his uncle’s guilt with a play that recounts the murder and his botched excuses for not killing Claudius when the opportunity arises serve as testimony to Hamlet’s true self. Hamlet is riddled with doubt towards the validity of the ghost and his own ability to carry out the act necessary to…show more content…
In the climactic final scene of the play, the foils do fence, wherein both are fatally wounded. The fact that Hamlet and Laertes both live in separate countries from where they were born, and that both are renowned fencers, acts as a comparison to present the two as parallel foils, though it is a decidedly less significant one. 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

More about The Examination of Hamlet and Laertes as Foils Essay

Open Document