Comparing Laertes And Hamlet In Shakespeare's Hamlet

886 words - 4 pages

Comparing Laertes and Hamlet

 
    In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the characters of Laertes and Hamlet both display impulsive reactions when angered. Once Laertes discovers his father has been murdered, he immediately assumes the slayer is Claudius. As a result of Laertes' speculation, he instinctively moves to avenge Polonius' 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 I'll be revenged most thoroughly for my father." Act 4 Scene 5 lines 128-134 provide insight into Laertes' mind, displaying his desire for revenge at any cost.

 

In contrast to Laertes' speculation of his father's 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. Hamlet's and Laertes' 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 Hamlet's true intentions towards Ophelia and advises her to be wary of Hamlet's love. Laertes impresses upon Ophelia that Hamlet is a prince who, most likely, will have an arranged marriage. Hamlet's strong love for Ophelia withers after she rejects his affinity. Hamlet's extensive love for Ophelia resulted in grave suffering for Hamlet once his affection was rejected. Hamlet's 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 Ophelia's love for Hamlet causes Polonius to believe 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 Ophelia's 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 him, and in her death, Hamlet suffered greatly). Laertes showed a strong brotherly love for Ophelia which was made evident in his advice to her. Laertes further displayed his love for Ophelia during her funeral...

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