Hamlet And Laertes Essay Research Paper William

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a timeless work of

literary art that is still being told and re-written to

this date. The complexity of Hamlet allows it to be

used as the basis for many current classes and

discussions. A critic explains the complexity in the

statement: Hamlet is the most difficult and complex

characters to be created by Shakespeare (Mackenzie).

Little is known about Shakespeare s life, other than he

was a great playwright. He wrote and directed many

plays in his lifetime. This was his sole form of income.

Shakespeare s writing style is described in this quote

from a bibliography: Shakespeare wrote plays and

dialogues in such a manner as to entertain both the

wealthy and the peasants (Dutton 14). Shakespeare led

and eventful but short life. The conditions of 1601,

the year Hamlet was written, are described in this quote

on a criticism about Hamlet: Hamlet was written the

same year as Shakespeare s father death, and the

imprisonment of his generous patron and friend, Lord

Southampton. From this year onward, the tone of

Shakespeare s plays became sober, sad and

bitter (Chambers 64).

In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet and Laertes

share several characteristics which make them similar.

They both seem to be on a mission seeking revenge on

their fathers killers and have a deep, but individual

love for Ophelia. Hamlet and Laertes show little

patience and seem to react before properly thinking out

their reactions when distraught or infuriated. In Act

3, when Hamlet thinks that the person spying on there

conversation is Cladius, Hamlet becomes very angered and

tried to kill Cladius, but not thinking, he strikes

Polonius instead. Laertes strong anger is evident when

he finds out that his father has been killed. He

immediately assumes the person who killed his father was

Claudius. Laertes anger leads him to start to plan

Polonius s death, which is described in this quote after

he hears the terrible news: 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(IV.v.128-134). Hamlet s when killing Polonius,

and Laertes when he hears the news of this father s

death, are both examples of the men s fury and

unpredictable rage.

Laertes and Hamlet are similar in the way that they

love, and express there love for Ophelia. Although

Laertes takes on a brotherly role, he gives her advice,

almost warning her of Hamlet. When Laertes is leaving

for France, he expresses concern for her and her

relationship with Hamlet in this quote about Hamlet s

love: Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister, and

keep you in the rear of your affection, out of the shot

and danger of desire (I.iii.34-36). Ophelia promises to

obey and not fall for Hamlet. After Laertes departure,

Hamlet s deep love for Ophelia resulted in deep

depression when she rejects him. Even though he is

still in love with her, he gets angry and starts to

despise her for rejecting him. When Laertes hears about

the death of his sister, he is struck with sadness.

Both men are so engraged with anger and emotion that

they end up fighting at her grave. Her death brought

out the worst in both of them. Hamlet suffered greatly

and showed his love for her again at the funeral, when

he again fought with Laertes. Hamlet s love was more of

an obsession, and Laertes was brotherly and protective.

He is on the constant lookout for the well being of his

sister. He lectures her about not marrying Hamlet

before he departs from Francs. This quote may explain

that Hamlet may have been so infatuated with Ophelia

because she has some of the same traits as the queen,

which connects Hamlet to his love for his

mother: Although some writers, following Goethe, see in

Ophelia many traits of resemblance to the Queen, perhaps

just as striking are the traits contrasting with those

of the Queen (Jones). Though both men did not get

along, they shared a common love, and a lot of caring

for Ophelia.

Hamlet and Laertes both hold a great deal of

respect for there families and treat each individual

family members problems with a great deal of compassion,

while keeping there best interest in mind. This quote

points out Hamlet s love for his father, and the

tragedies that he went through: Hamlet was yet young

when his mind received a shock from the death of his

father, the man he most admired, the innate goodness of

his heart, and the glowing warmth of his affections

speak in the reverence to the memory of his

father (Skottowe 6). After the death of there fathers,

Hamlet and Laertes strive to seek revenge against there

enemies. Both of there fathers tried to use spies to

find out more about there sons. Both of the men go to

seek revenge for the death of there fathers, however,

they both use different methods to accomplish there

deeds. Hamlet and Laertes both admire there fathers and

are even willing to kill in the act of revenge.

Hamlet s passive and scheming approach manages to kill

his fathers murderer. Laertes, with his direct

approach, slays his father s killer, Hamlet. They both

accomplish there goal, but paying the ultimate price of

both their lives.

Another similarity between Hamlet and Laertes and

there respect for there families, is that they hold

protective attitudes toward the females in there

families. Laertes gives his sister guidance with her

relationship with Hamlet. Hamlet is able to persuade

Gertrude that he is actually not upset and that she

should follow his guidance. Hamlet tries to guide his

mother to stay away from Cladius when he makes her think

back on her husbands death with sorrow in these lines:

Nay, but to live in the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,

stewed in corruption, honeying and making love over the

nasty sty- (III.iv.93-95). The Queen understands his

plea for her to stay away from Cladius and does not want

to hear anymore. Laertes care and affection toward

females is ultimately displayed in his speech to his

sister regarding his urgent message, explaining to

Ophelia why she should not marry Hamlet, while Hamlet s

affection toward females is displayed in his deep

concern for the well being of his mother. Hamlet

disapproves if his mothers actions and is outrages with

her relationship with Cladius.

Hamlet and Leartes hold strong similarities in

there fierce tempers, love for Ophelia, the respect they

hold for there fathers, and the domineering side they

show toward females. Although adversaries, Hamlet and

Laertes share several characteristics which makes them

similar. Hamlet was a loving, caring prince, who was

looked upon for his many positive qualities, and if he

would ve lived, he would ve went on to be the most royal

and faithful King of Denmark. Although Laertes is not a

main character, there are many aspects about him that

make his attitude similar to Hamlet s

Shakespeare wrote many plays with he in still

accredited for, and Hamlet is no exception. His stories

have been passed on through generations due to the

complexity and the great deal of details he puts in each

of his stories This quote sums up Shakespeare s Hamlet:

It was not that Hamlet was Shakespeare s greatest

tragedy, or most perfect work of art, it was that Hamlet

brings home to us at once the sense of the soul s

infinity, and the sense of doom, which not only

circumscribes that infinity, but appears to be it s

offspring (Bradley, A.C.). Hamlet keeps your interest,

and keeps you in suspense throughout the play. The

story of Hamlet has been considered by most, one of

Shakespeare s finest works of art, if not his greatest.

The plot and the story line keep your attention through

the entire play, never lacking a dull moment.

Bradley,A.C. What Actually Happens in the Play. Hamlet

A Norton Critical Edition. Ed Cyrus Hay, New York:

W.W. Norton, 1992, 169-175

Chambers,E.K. Source of Bibliography on Shakespeare. Great

Britian: University Press, Oxford 1970

Dutton,Richard. William Shakespeare. New York: St. Martin s


Hoy,Cyrus. Hamlet A Norton Critical Edition. New York:

W.W.Norton, 1992

Jones,Ernest. Tragedy and the Mind of the Infant. Hamlet

A Norton Critical Edition. Ed Cyrus Hoy, New York:

W.W.Norton, 1992, 200-207

Mackenzie,Henry. Criticism and the Character and the

Tragedy of Hamlet. Hamlet A Norton Critical Edition

Ed Cyrus Hoy, New York: W.W. Norton, 1992,


Skottowe,Augustine. The Life of Shakespeare. London: A&R

Spottiswoode, 1961

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