Compare And Contrast Foils In Hamlet

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Foil characters have both similarities and differences that are used to emphasize certain traits. More specifically, a foil’s life mirrors its counterpart but his/her differences reveal to the readers the subtle traits in the other character. In “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Demark”, Hamlet, the protagonist, and his old friend, Laertes, reunite in their home town after the death of King Hamlet. Laertes acts as a very useful foil for Hamlet in that the two men share life experiences yet they have different personalities and behaviors. Laertes and Hamlet go through similar situations throughout the play. Both men suffer from their fathers’ deaths. After finding out about their fathers’ murders, the two characters seek answers about the murder. …show more content…
Hamlet is spiteful towards his uncle. He is angry at first for the marriage between King Claudius and Queen Gertrude and for the overtaking of the throne. Hamlet grows an even larger abhorrence to his stepfather when he finds out that he killed his father. Laertes, however, shows a liking to Claudius for the most part. At the beginning of the play Laertes asks for the King’s permission to leave the country for France, proving that he respects Claudius as a man and as a king. Although this changes for a moment after the death of Polonius, once Laertes is exposed to the truth of the murder, the two men go back to getting along. While these relationships hold true throughout most of the play, at the end, Hamlet and Laertes both find a reason to be angry at Claudius. Hamlet hated him all along, and Laertes blames the King for the deaths that happened that day. Laertes declares, “The King, the King’s to blame,” (V, ii, 328) and he remarks that the King is “justly served” (V, ii, 334) for the mere idea of the poison. Laertes’s initial fondness of the King accentuates Hamlet’s hatred toward him.
Hamlet and Laertes each have a different personality. Hamlet is indecisive and quiet with his anger. Laertes is decisive and much more outspoken in anger. Hamlet is skeptical; he finds things hard to believe without full proof. This is displayed when he questions the validity of the Ghost’s story of the murder. On the contrary, Laertes easily believes the King’s words that Hamlet is the real murderer of Polonius, proving that he is more susceptible to new information. The contrast of Hamlet and Laertes’s personalities reveals to the readers a better understanding of Hamlet’s true

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