Hamlet is a story of sorrow and revenge written by Shakespeare, the great play writer of 17th century. There is an importance to every character and to everything that happens in the story.
Fortinbras and Laertes are similar characters to Hamlet. All three of them want to avenge their father’s death. The main contrast between them is the way the each handles their misfortune and how they avenge their father’s death.
Laertes is a mirror to Hamlet. They both are men who have been to university, men who loved and respected their fathers and they both want avenge. They also love Ophelia. Hamlet wishes her to be his wife and Laertes loves her as a sister. However, the differences between the two men are also important. Laertes is decisive and Hamlet is not. When brought to the call of avenging their father’s deaths, Laertes is fast to act. He wants revenge and he wants it immediately. His actions are rush, being based in danger. He is also very easily manipulated by his father and by Claudius. He cannot let his natural feelings to rule his will. He thinks about the consequences of his actions only afterwards. That is why he wants Hamlet’s forgiveness at the end of the play. Just before that happens Laertes says that, “I am justly killed with mine own treachery”. He is too willing to believe the King’s version of events and Claudius uses his anger for his own benefit. He manipulates him into becoming an ally to kill Hamlet. Contrasting to Laertes’ quick response, Hamlet waits. He is very private with his grief. His sadness is long and after two months after his father’s death, he still wears “suits of solemn black.” Even though his mother remarried to his uncle so quickly, he does not suspect anything of his father’s murder until the ghost tells him. Unlike Laertes, Hamlet thinks over what he is to do, and how he is to avenge the murder of his father. But that does not mean that he cannot act on impulse. When him and Laertes fight over Ophelia’s grave, it shows how much Hamlet can act impulsively. Hamlet does not only want to avenge his father’s death, he wants Claudius to be punished and that is why he did not kill him while he was praying. Contrasting to Hamlet, Laertes wants only revenge, he is not concerned with punishment. Hamlet and Laertes represent extremes of action. Fortinbras is the midpoint between them. He is the son of Old Fortinbras, King of Norway, slain during battle by King Hamlet.
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William Shakespeare Hamlet-Fortinbras-Laertes
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