The Examination of Hamlet and Laertes as Foils Essay Sample

8 August 2017

William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet relays Hamlet’s quest to revenge the slaying of his male parent. the male monarch of Denmark. The late King Hamlet was murdered by his brother. Claudius. who took the throne and Hamlet’s female parent Gertrude for himself. Hamlet is beseeched by the shade of his male parent to take retribution upon Claudius ; while he swears to make so. the prince inexplicably delays killing Claudius for months on terminal. Hamlet’s lame effort to foremost corroborate his uncle’s guilt with a drama that recounts the slaying and his bungled alibis for non killing Claudius when the chance arises serve as testimony to Hamlet’s true ego. Hamlet is riddled with uncertainty towards the cogency of the shade and his ain ability to transport out the act necessary to revenge his male parent. His depression and feigned insanity both serve as damages to his mental wellness and sense of judgement. which all impede his ability to concentrate on his end. Laertes. the boy of Claudius’s royal adviser Polonius. serves as a direct foil to Hamlet in his response to the intelligence of his ain father’s decease. and the immediate action he takes in order to revenge Polonius.

A foil character can be the complete antonym of the supporter. or improbably similar but for one key difference. In the instance of Hamlet and Laertes. the latter applies. The similitude between the two is unmistakable through the patterned advance of the drama. The 2nd scene of Act I reveals that both work forces are non lasting occupants in Elsinore. or Denmark. Hamlet attends school at Wittenberg in Germany. where he lived old to his father’s decease. Laertes says. in response to Claudius’s oppugning his hurried going. “Yet now. I must squeal. that responsibility done/My ideas and wants bend once more toward France/And bow them to your gracious leave and forgiveness. ” ( I. ii. 55-57 ) . Laertes wants to return to France. and does so in the following scene.

In add-on to populating in separate states from where they were born. Hamlet and Laertes are both expert swordsmans. Hamlet seemingly harbors a certain sum of jealousy towards Laertes. harmonizing to Claudius. In Act IV. scene seven. the male monarch recalls the words of a Frenchman ; “He made confession of you. /And gave you such a consummate report/For art and exercising in your defence. /And for your rapier most particularly. /That he cried out ’twould be a sight indeed/If one could fit you. ” The Frenchman’s word sparked Hamlet’s enviousness. and his desire to fence against Laertes. In the climactic concluding scene of the drama. the foils do fence. wherein both are fatally wounded. The fact that Hamlet and Laertes both live in separate states from where they were born. and that both are celebrated swordsmans. Acts of the Apostless as a comparing to show the two as parallel foils. though it is a unquestionably less important one.

A more notable comparing between Hamlet and Laertes would be each man’s intense relationship with Ophelia. the former’s love involvement and the latter’s sister. Both work forces are passionately preoccupied with Ophelia’s actions. chiefly those refering to her gender. but in different ways. Prior to the events in the drama Hamlet actively pursues a love affair with Ophelia. but during his staged lunacy he violently criticizes her for moving at all interested in his progresss. As the drama progresses Hamlet somersaults back and Forth between sneering at Ophelia and declaring his love for her. but in either instance he shows an obvious devotedness to the miss.

Laertes holds the same sum of devotedness. but towards protecting her from Hamlet and anything else that may compromise her virtuousness. When he is told of her descent into insanity. his desperation over the information is given with his acclamation of her antecedently being perfect ; “And so hold I…/A sister driven into despairing footings. /Whose worth. if congratulationss may travel back once more. /Stood rival on saddle horse of all the age/For her perfections” ( IV. seven. 25-29 ) . Be it romantic or familial. Hamlet’s and Laertes’s fondness for Ophelia serves as a strong connexion between their similar characters. However. it is besides a impulsive factor in their abhorrence for each other. and eventual confrontation.

The most obvious and of import analogue between Hamlet and Laertes is the slaying of their male parents. and both of their driving demand to revenge their deceases. The immature work forces are fueled by fury and the to a great extent instilled thought of retribution that permeated throughout the clip in history in which the drama takes topographic point. Ultimately. this connexion is what genuinely makes Hamlet and Laertes foils. in that this is where their differences are revealed. When faced with retribution. Hamlet procrastinates for months on terminal. distracted by his heartache and morality. He wants to be certain of Claudius’s guilt. and even ignores the chance to kill the male monarch while he is praying. claiming it would direct him to Heaven to decease in such a manner.

Hamlet’s alibis and pes dragging is the complete antonym of Laertes’s response to his ain father’s decease. He instantly storms the palace with a posse of indignant common mans. and demands justness at one time. He is blinded by choler and ready to kill Hamlet. claiming he would “cut his pharynx i’ th’ church” ( IV. seven. 123 ) . Laertes evidently has no scruple about seeking retaliation. and would ne’er happen it necessary to corroborate Hamlet’s guilt before taking action. This important difference between Hamlet and Laertes is what allows them to function as such perfect foils for each other. The key is that the difference between foils must be what finally leads to their demand for confrontation. or the protagonist’s fatal defect. In this instance. it acts as both.

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