Examples Of Foils In Hamlet

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Persin, Avi English-11H 10/25/2009 Foils of Hamlet In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Shakespeare puts the antagonist in situations similar to the main character or protagonist. Play writers and authors do this in order to compare and contrast differences between the characters. This type of literary analysis is known as a foil. In this specific play, Hamlet, the main character, is foiled by many other characters in the play. The major foil to Hamlet is Ophelia. The obvious similarity between Hamlet and Ophelia is that they both lost their fathers. In the beginning of the play, when Hamlet lost his father, it seemed as if he was overreacting to his tragic situation. When once Ophelia’s father passed, it made…show more content…
Both Hamlet and Polonius are swift to speak and always burst out in excitement. They both made mistakes due to this awful trait. Many times, Hamlet spoke too soon and acted out of rage or ignorance, and got himself in trouble. For instance, when Polonius is spying on Hamlet, he is hiding behind the curtain. Hamlet thinks it’s the king who is doing the spying and therefore ends up killing Polonius. This foil of Hamlet gives him a violent image and makes him look like he doesn’t know how to control his emotions. Polonius’s problem is the same, yet the results are less severe. Polonius makes himself sound like a fool by not thinking through things thoroughly Another foil in Hamlet is young Fortinbras, the nephew to the king of Norway. Like Hamlet, Fortinbras’ father was also killed, and his uncle took over the throne. Now, both countries have a prince who fell as if they were stripped from the crown. Fortinbras, unlike Hamlet, plays an active role in Norway’s government. In Act IV Fortinbras leads an army into Poland to take back what is rightfully his. However, in truth this was a plot of revenge for his father who was…show more content…
Like Hamlet, Laertes, also wants to take avenge and does it openly. Laertes organizes a mob supporting him to be king. This line of action, organizing a mob, would have been very productive for Hamlet. However, Hamlet decided to stay in the castle instead of going out and taking care of business. Another comparison between Hamlet and Laertes is their love for Opheliah. They obviously have different types of love for Opheliah regardless, both love her very much. Leartes gives Opheliah brotherly advice, by telling her not to go near Hamlet. After Opheliah rejects Hamlet, the love between Opheliah and Laertes slowly dies. This allows Hamlet to show how much he really loved her. Shakespeare shows how two characters can care for someone so much, yet dislike each other completely. When Opheliah dies, both are upset and enraged. As a result of Hamlet and Leartes’ strong love for Opheliah they both end up jumping into her grave at her funeral and fighting for her dead body. Also, Laertes, like his father, has the same spontaneity as Hamlet. Throughout this tragic play, we see there are many foils, whether they are noticeable or hard to see. Foils add to the plot of the play by introducing the audience or reader to the characters personality, which aids us in understanding each character’s decisions. Literary techniques such as these foils greatly enrich a play and make them into final masterpieces, as

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