A father murdered by a madman: this fate is suffered by two characters in Shakespeare Hamlet, though their actions and decisions subsequent to the malefaction set them apart. Hamlet, prince of Denmark, and Laertes, son of the king’s courtier, are both burden by the need to avenge the death of their fathers. They share an ambition for justice, a desire to draw blood of those who have greatly wronged them. Hamlet creates an elaborate plan to reveal the true nature of Claudius, his father’s slayer, and take his execution into his own hands. Laertes seeks to snuff Hamlet after learning that his father has been stabbed and killed by the very man. Such belike situations faced by two men whose character could not be more different from one another.
From their introduction these two men are characterized significantly different from each other. From first interaction with Ophelia, Laertes is giving her advice and speaking from his experience what he feels she should do while he is away in England. Ophelia discounts most of his advice pointing out he’s acting as a hypocrite.
“I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
As watchmen to my heart, but, good brother,
Do not as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles like a puffed and reckless libertine
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.”
Ophelia catches Laertes in an act; he is not the perfect man he attempts to appear before her as. He puts on a show to present himself appropriately in different situations. He plays a role, there’s nothing inherently wrong about this, it is a personality trait that most people have. There is a proper time to be brutally honest and candid and Laertes acts according to the situation. In contrast Hamlet always speaks his fiercely passionate mind even where it is not entirely appropriate. At his mother and uncle’s wedding Hamlet expresses his personality so simply.
“Seems, madam? Nay, it is. I know not ‘seems.’”
Hamlet refuses to act, he instead chooses to wear his heart on his sleeve and make it obvious how he is feeling. Hamlet is stubbornly truthful; he does not put on an act for others. When he eventually does begin to act in his antic disposition, he is doing so with purpose to hide his motives from the increasingly suspicious Claudius.
The difference appears too after first blood is drawn. Hamlet first murder was that of Polonius. Here he feels remorse that it was the wrong man behind the curtain, but then continues to say that it was Polonius’ fault for...