Voils In William Shakespeare's Hamlet : Laertes And Fortinbras
1054 Words5 Pages
In literature, foils are characters who contrast with the protagonist to highlight their particular qualities. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the main character Hamlet is contrasted with other characters so that readers could gain a better understanding of him. Hamlet is juxtaposed with the characters of Laertes and Fortinbras since all three people are young men who are placed in positions where they must avenge their deceased fathers. Although these characters are similar, their reactions to their situations and their actions for revenge differ. In Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras’s roles as foils expose Hamlet’s lack of duty to his father, his inability to take action, and his descent into insanity throughout the play.
Hamlet’s deferment of fulfilling his duty to Old King Hamlet is highlighted by Laertes and Fortinbras’s loyalty to their fathers. When Hamlet is told by the ghost that his father was killed by Claudius, Hamlet vows to avenge him by murdering Claudius himself. However, his fear and uncertainty cause Hamlet to put off killing Claudius, as he doesn’t fulfill the duty to his father by letting Claudius live before the ‘mouse trap’ play and while he is praying in Acts 2 and 3 of the play. While Hamlet continuously does not listen to the ghost by delaying the murder of Claudius, his lack of duty to his father is evident, especially when compared to the actions of Laertes and Fortinbras. When news that someone killed his father Polonius reaches him in France,