Hamlet Laertes And Fortinbras Essay

Contrasting Fortinbras and Laertes with Hamlet Essay

1952 Words8 Pages

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…show more content…

His uncle, Claudius, has killed his father, taken the throne, and married his mother. This leaves Hamlet feeling like his world has been crushed. By killing Claudius, Hamlet would not only avenge his father's death, but also dethrone a murderer and restore some order to his world. This sets Hamlet apart from Fortinbras and Laertes because Hamlet acts out of desperation while pride motivates Fortinbras and love makes Laertes act.

In addition to each character's motive, Shakespeare uses imagery and allusions to differences in character traits. Shakespeare hints about the nature of Fortinbras simply by choosing this name. The name Fortinbras is very similar to fortitude, which is firmness of the mind. Fortinbras fulfills this description when he persists in trying to reclaim land by attacking Poland. Instead of giving up on reclaiming his father's land when his uncle tells him not to attack Denmark, he sticks to his plan by taking a piece of Poland. The name Laertes is also significant because in Greek mythology, Laertes was the father of Odysseus and helped his son reclaim the throne. This implies that Laertes will take action if necessary. Shakespeare also compares Laertes to the image of a tidal wave when he returns from France in order to show that Laertes is unfaltering in his decisions as is a tidal wave in its course. In contrast to Fortinbras and

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The Foils of Laertes and Fortinbras in Hamlet Essay

1031 Words5 Pages

The Foils of Laertes and Fortinbras in Hamlet

William Shakespeare wrote the classic play, Hamlet in the sixteenth century. Hamlet would be a very difficult play to understand without the masterful use of foils. A foil is a minor character in a literary work that compliments the main character through similarities and differences in personality. The audience can identify similarities and differences between any of the characters and Hamlet, however, there are two characters that share so much in common with Hamlet that they have to be considered the most important foils in the play. These two characters are Laertes and Fortinbras. It is the great similarities between Laertes, Fortinbras, and Hamlet that make the…show more content…

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

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