Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

1005 Words 5 Pages
The complexity and effect of father-son relationships seems to be a theme that Shakespeare loved to explore in his writings. In Hamlet, the subject is used as a mechanism to identify the similarities between three very different characters: Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet. They have each lost their fathers to violent deaths, which leads them to seek vengeance. As different as they may seem, they all share the common desire to avenge their father’s deaths. The method they each approach this is what differentiates each of their characters, and allows the audience to discern their individual characteristics. Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet’s intense loyalty to their fathers drives them to individual extreme measures of revenge, exemplifying …show more content…
Fortinbras initially plans on taking immediate and forceful actions to avenge the death of his father by recruiting thugs to secure the lands King Fortinbras lost:
Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in ’t, which is no other—
As it doth well appear unto our state—
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost. (I. i. 95-104)

Because of this, he is greatly admired by Hamlet, who spends most of his time thinking and brooding rather than acting upon his plans. Fortinbras’ plot to acquire King Fortinbras’ forfeited lands is quelled by Claudius who sends letters to his uncle, who then convinces him not to advance with his plan to invade Denmark. Fortinbras is differentiated from Laertes and Hamlet in the sense that his plan of vengeance is never carried out. Prior to Polonius’ death, him and his son Laertes did not share a very close father-son relationship. This is first shown when Polonius instructs Reynaldo to defame Laertes. His need for control is apparent from the start, as he is willing to sacrifice Laerte’s image for his own dominance. For example, after giving Laertes a lengthy speech on the importance of morals and values, Polonius proceeds to hire a servant to spy on his son while he is in school.

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