Essay On Foil Characters Hamlet

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Manuela Romero Belalcázar Foil Characters in Hamlet Hamlet is one of the most famous and influential characters throughout literature. Hamlet is unique due to his meditative and enigmatic nature. Throughout Hamlet, the contrast that foil characters provide, allows many of Hamlet’s distinct characteristics to become visible. Shakespeare displays the difference between Hamlet’s actions and those of Laertes’ and Fortinbrass’. Even in similar circumstances, Hamlet has a different approach than the other two foil characters to his father’s death. Although Hamlet and Laertes share several characteristics, their attitudes differ greatly. Laertes actions are purely guided by his feelings, while Hamlet’s only by his mind. Proof of this is when Hamlet apologizes to Laertes and he accepts the apology but then clarifies that in terms of honor he isn’t satisfied. "I am satisfied in nature, / Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most / To my revenge: but in my terms of honour / I stand aloof" Act V sc. ii. What Laertes calls honor is actually the desired vengeance, which he needs as a way to seal the death of his father and carry on with his life. Hamlet, on the other hand, acts, or better said, refrains from acting because of the conclusions he draws from his reflections and speculations. A great example of Hamlet’s complicated and elaborate ways of obtaining what he wants is the plot of the “Mouse Trap” for catching the King’s conscience. Instead of asking the king violently, just like Laertes, if he had killed his father, he prefers to use subtler suggestions expressed through parallel stories that mirror Claudius’ actions and situation. There is yet one more example that displays clearly the difference between these two characters; they essentially want the same thing: to fulfill their duties and carry on with their lives. Despite their common end, each one of them
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