, Research Paper
Hamlet by William Shakespeare is about a Danish Prince’s quest for revenge for the murder of his father. Hamlet, the Prince, is told by his father’s ghost that he was killed by Claudius, the current King and the dead King’s brother. This infuriates Hamlet and there begins his quest for justice. Hamlet masks his knowledge of the murder under a cloud of lunacy. In this fit of supposed madness Hamlet kills Polonius, royal counsel to the King, and father to Ophelia and Laertes. Prince Hamlet and Laertes share many characteristics. Laertes and Hamlet both display impulsive and rash behavior when angered. When Laertes discovers that his father has been killed he immediately assumes that the slayer is Claudius. “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 the worlds I give to negligence, let come what comes; only I’ll be reveng’d most thoroughly for my father.” (4,5,131) This quote provides insight into Laertes’ mind displaying his desire for revenge at any cost. In contrast to Laertes’ speculation of his father’s killer, Hamlet presumes the person spying on his conversation with his mother is Claudius. After Hamlet kills Polonius the Queen says “Oh me, what hast thou done?” (3,4,24). Hamlet responds “Nay, I know not. Is it the King?” (3,4,25) Sudden anger prompts both Hamlet and Laertes to act spontaneously, giving little thought to the consequences of their actions. Hamlet and Laertes share a different, but deep love and concern for Ophelia. Before his departure for France Laertes gives Ophelia advice pertaining to her relationship with Hamlet. Laertes tells Ophelia of Hamlet’s supposedly true intentions and advises her to be wary of Hamlet’s love. Laertes explains to his sister that Hamlet is a Prince and most likely will have an arranged marriage. Hamlet’s strong love for Ophelia causes him to suffer greatly when she rejects his affections. Hamlet’s normally well-groomed appearance becomes sub-standard due to Ophelia’s rejections. “Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking at each other.” (2,1,81) The loss of Ophelia’s love is the cause that Polonius believes drove Hamlet to lunacy. When Laertes hears of his sister’s death he becomes overcome with sadness. In the same way, Hamlet is shocked and enraged over Ophelia’s demise. Although Hamlet and Laertes despise one another, they both profoundly love Ophelia. Hamlet and Laertes are similar in the way that they associate with their families. Laertes highly respects and loves his father, Polonius. Similarly, Hamlet holds great respect for his dead father. After the deaths of their fathers, Hamlet and Laertes seek to impose revenge upon their killers. Both Hamlet and Laertes exhibit domineering attitudes towards females. Laertes gives advice to his sister about her relationship with Hamlet. Hamlet is able to manipulate his mother into following his instructions and is able to make her feel guilty about the death of his father. “Thou turn st mine eyes into my very soul, and there I see such black and grained spots as will not leave their tinct.” (3,4,89) Hamlet and Laertes are very similar in the way that they relate to their family. Although enemies, Hamlet and Laertes share many qualities that make them seem similar, such as their love for Ophelia, their loyalty to their fathers, and the way in which they both act spontaneously upon their anger.