22 May 2011
Hamlet and Laertes Foil
Hamlet is one of the most famous and studied characters throughout all of literature due to his unique and different nature. Threw Hamlet the contrast between Hamlet and Laertes allows there distinct characteristics become visible. Shakespeare displays a very clear difference between Hamlet and Laertes, even when the two are put into very similar situations you see that Laertes is more forward with his emotions were as Hamlet disguises them.
Both Hamlet and Laertes fathers are murdered but Laertes, unlike Hamlet is much more set to act. After King Hamlet's death, Laertes, along with Prince Hamlet return to Denmark for the funeral services. This is the first sign that Laertes will become a foil to Hamlet in the play. Hamlet is devastated but he only mopes around whereas when Laertes father Polonius is murdered he vows for revenge “to the blackest Devil!”(4.5.215) He thinks through his emotions, not with his brain like Hamlet. When Hamlet is trying to solve if Claudius killed his father he uses Gertrude asking, “I know not: is it the King?”(3.4.123) Spying through someone else is typical Hamlet not only keeping his feeling hush but also avoiding a confrontation with the king before he knows for sure if he killed his father.
When Ophelia dies Laertes is Distraught and isn’t afraid to show this whereas Hamlet loved her but his lack emotion left him without a connection to her at the end of the play. Laertes feels so sad from not only his father’s death but then Ophelia dying that breaks down acting without any use of his brain going to the king and accusing without any proof. Hamlet however reacts very different to death for when his fathers is murdered he has “A little more that kin, and less the kind”. This meaning he suspected someone (the king) but didn’t do anything for he knew he could not prove anything without evidence which he later gets from the kings reaction and the...