Hamlet Essay, Research Paper
Compare and contrast between Hamlet and Laertes
William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is known as the best tragedy play of all times. Each one of the characters has their own unique personality, but some of them are very alike. Hamlet, the main character, and Laertes, one of the other leading roles, are very much alike but at the same time slightly different. Their experiences collide and they both make some decisions, which change their lives forever. Hamlet and Laertes both display impulsive reactions when angered.
Both Hamlet’s and Laertes’ fathers were killed. When Laertes discovered that his father’s been murdered he immediately assumes that Claudius is the killer. As a result of his speculation he moves to avenge Polonius’ death. Laertes lines in Act IV Scene 5 provide insight into his mind displaying his desire for revenge at any cost. “To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil! Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit! I dare damnation. To this point I stand, that both worlds I give to negligence, let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged most thoroughly for my father.” (Act IV Scene 5 lines 136-141) In contrast to Laertes speculation of his father’s killer, Hamlet assumes the individual spying on his conversation with Gertrude is Claudius. “Nay, I know not. Is it the King?” (Act III Scene 4 line 28). Without thinking, Hamlet automatically thrusts out attempting to kill who he believed was Claudius and actually kills Polonius. Fury and frustration instigate Hamlet’s and Laertes’ indiscreet actions and causes them not to think of the consequences that may follow.
Hamlet and Laertes share a different but deep love and concern for Ophelia. Laertes advises her to retain from seeing and being involved with Hamlet because of his social status. He didn’t want her to get her heart broken by Hamlet, since he believed that his marriage would be arranged to someone of his social status, and that he would only use and hurt Ophelia. Hamlet on the other hand, was madly in love with Ophelia but it languishes after she rejects him. Ophelia’s death caused distress in both Hamlet and Laertes and it also made Laertes more hostile towards Hamlet.
Association with their families makes Hamlet and Laertes even more similar. The love and respect that they have for their fathers bring them to life threatening situations. Hamlet compares his father to a sun god “Hyperion” and similarly Laertes highly respects and loves his father Polonius. They both strive to seek revenge on the murderers of their fathers. As a result of their revenge they lose their lives to each other among other things.
The families of Laertes and Hamlet contain similar characteristics. They both hold a high admiration for their fathers and are willing to even kill the King to enact revenge. Both characters share a deep love for Ophelia and are deeply hurt by her death. Although they’re both driven by their anger, they use different methods to get what they want. Laertes comes forward with his intentions while Hamlet stays back and very carefully plans his actions. In conclusion, Shakespeare made an excellent parallelism between Hamlet and Laertes; he discreetly made them different.