Hamlet - The Importance Of Laertes And Fortinbras In Hamlet


The Shakespearean play, Hamlet, is a story of revenge and the way the characters in the play respond to grief and the demands of loyalty. The importance of Fortinbras and Laertes in the play is an issue much discussed, analysed and critiqued. Fortinbras and Laertes are parallel characters to Hamlet, and they provide pivotal points on which to compare the actions and emotions of Hamlet throughout the play. They are also important in Hamlet as they are imperative to the plot of the play and the final resolution. Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras are three young men who are placed in similar circumstances, that is, to avenge their father's deaths. The way the each comes to terms with their grief ...

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and display deviousness when plotting to avenge their father's deaths.
Hamlet's response to grief is a trait starkly contrasted by Laertes. Laertes response to the death of his father is immediate. He is publicly angry, and he leads the public riot occuring outside Castle Elsinore, which Polonius' death and quick burial served as a catalyst. He is suspicious, as is evident in his speech to Claudius. "How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with. / To hell, allegiance!"(Act 4, 5:130). Hamlet, however is very private with his grief. His mourning for King Hamlet is long and drawn out, two months after his father's death, he is still observed to be wearing "...suits of solemn black."[(Act1, 2:78) Claudius and Gertrude comment on his unhappiness, however it is not until Hamlet's first soliloquy that the audience is made aware of the depth of his suffering. Although dismayed at his mother's quick remarriage to his uncle, Hamlet suspects nothing of his father's murder until the ghost ...

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of a duel with Hamlet, Laertes is without the cruelty and vindictiveness of Hamlet. Hamlet not only wants to avenge his King Hamlet's death, he wants Claudius to be eternally punished, therefore Hamlet does not slay Claudius in the scene where Claudius is praying, as there is a chance Claudius might have had a chance to confess. Laertes wants revenge, he is not concerned with punishment. Laertes is concerned with the physical and the present, "That both the worlds I give to negligence,"(Act4, 5:134) he declares. Hamlet however, philosophises about the afterlife, and whether "...in that sleep of death what dreams may come."(Act 3, 1:66)

Hamlet and Laertes represent the two extremities of ...

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Added: 1/31/2004 05:14:46 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1291
Pages: 5

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