email = emailprotected
publish = yes
subject = English
title = Hamlet: Characters and plot
papers = Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Laertes and Hamlet both display impulsive reactions when angered. Once Laertes discovers his father has been
murdered Laertes immediately assumes the slayer is Claudius. As a result of Laertess speculation he
instinctively moves to avenge Poloniuss death. “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 Ill be revenged most thoroughly for my father.” Act 4 Scene 5 lines 128-134 provide
insight into Laertess mind displaying his desire for revenge at any cost. In contrast to Laertes speculation of his
fathers killer, Hamlet presumes the individual spying on his conversation with Gertrude is Claudius(“Nay, I know
not: is it the King?” Act 3, Scene 4 line 28). Consequently, Hamlet consumed with rage automatically thrusts out
attempting to kill Claudius, but instead strikes Polonius. Hamlets and Laertess imprudent actions are incited by
fury and frustration. 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 provides lengthy advice to Ophelia pertaining to her relationship with Hamlet. Laertes voices his concern
of Hamlets true intentions towards Ophelia and advices her to be wary of Hamlets love. Laertes impresses upon
Ophelia, Hamlet is a prince who most likely will have an arranged marriage. Hamlets strong love for Ophelia
withers after she rejects his affinity. Hamlets extensive love for Ophelia resulted in grave suffering for Hamlet
once his affection was rejected. Hamlets appearance decays due to the rejection of his love for Ophelia(“Pale as
his shirt, his knees knocking each other” Act 2, Scene 1, line 82). The loss of Ophelias love for Hamlet instigates
Polonius into believing it has caused Hamlet to revert to antic disposition. Once Laertes learns of the death of his
sister he is afflicted with sadness. In the same way, Hamlet is shocked and enraged over Ophelias demise. Both
Hamlet and Laertes are so profoundly distressed at the death of Ophelia they jump into her grave and fight each
other. Although Hamlet and Laertes despised one another, they both loved Ophelia. Hamlet was infatuated with
Ophelia which was obvious during his constant anguish over her(in her rejection of Hamlet, and in her death
Hamlet suffered greatly). Laertes shared a strong brotherly love for Ophelia which was evident in his advice to
her. Laertes further displayed his love for Ophelia during her funeral were he fought with Hamlet.

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Hamlet and Laertes are similar in the way they associate with their families. Laertes highly respects and loves his
father Polonius. Similarly, Hamlet holds a great respect for his dead father(Hamlet compares his father to a sun
god “Hyperion”). After the death of their fathers, Hamlet and Laertes strive to seek revenge on the assassins.


Hamlet and Laertes exhibit domineering attitudes towards females. Laertes gives his sister Ophelia guidance on
her relationship with Hamlet. In the same way, Hamlet is able to persuade Gertrude he is not mad and manipulate
her to follow his instructions. Hamlet directs his mother to convince Claudius of Hamlets madness. Hamlet is
able to make his mother reflect upon her part in the death of his father and feel guilt(“Thou turnst mine eyes into
my very soul, and there I see such black and grained spots as will not leave their tinct.” Act 3, Scene 4 lines
90-93). Furthermore, Hamlet instructs his mother not to sleep with Claudius. The fathers of Laertes and Hamlet
both attempted to use spies to gain information on their sons(although not his real father Claudius was his uncle
as well as step-father). Claudius employed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to gather information on Hamlet. In
comparison, Polonius dispatches Reynaldo to check up on Laertes. Hamlet and Laertes share similar aspects
within their families.


Hamlet and Laertes demonstrate rash behaviour when infuriated. Hamlet becomes outraged at the notion of
Claudius spying on him which results in Hamlet mistakenly killing Polonius. Laertes becomes drastically angered
at the death of his father and boldly seeks vengeance against Claudius. Momentary rage overcomes Laertes and
Hamlet which prompts them to act spontaneously. Hamlet and Laertes both have a strong love for Ophelia.


Hamlets deep love for Ophelia is evident in his reaction to her rejection of him. In the same way, Laertes care and
affection are revealed by his advice to his sister. The families of Laertes and Hamlet contain similar attributes.


Hamlet and Laertes hold a high admiration for their fathers and are willing to even kill the king to enact revenge.


Both characters exercise a dominating attitude towards females. In conclusion, although adversaries, Hamlet and
Laertes share several characteristics which make them similar.

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