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Comparing Laertes and Hamlet


Laertes and Hamlet both display impulsive reactions when angered.

Once Laertes discovers his father has been murdered Laertes

immediately assumes the slayer is Claudius. As a result of

Laertes's speculation he instinctively moves to avenge Polonius's

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's 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's 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



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 advices her to be wary of Hamlet's love. Laertes

impresses upon Ophelia, 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 instigates Polonius into believing 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 Hamlet, and in her

death Hamlet suffered greatly). Laertes shared a strong brotherly

love for Ophelia which was evident in his advice to her. Laertes

further displayed his love for Ophelia during her funeral were he

fought with Hamlet.


Hamlet and Laertes are similar in the way they associate with

their families. Laertes highly respects and loves his father

Polonius. Similarly, Hamlet holds a great respect for his dead

father(Hamlet compares his father to a sun god "Hyperion"). After

the death of their fathers, Hamlet and Laertes strive to seek

revenge on the assassins.


Hamlet and Laertes exhibit domineering attitudes towards females.

Laertes gives his sister Ophelia guidance on her relationship with

Hamlet. In the same way, Hamlet is able to persuade Gertrude he is

not mad and manipulate her to follow his instructions. Hamlet

directs his mother to convince Claudius of Hamlet's madness.

Hamlet is able to make his mother reflect upon her part in the

death of his father and feel guilt("Thou turn'st mine eyes into my

very soul, and there I see such black and grained spots as will

not leave their tinct." Act 3, Scene 4 lines 90-93). Furthermore,

Hamlet instructs his mother not to sleep with Claudius. The

fathers of Laertes and Hamlet both attempted to use spies to gain

information on their sons(although not his real father Claudius

was his uncle as well as step-father). Claudius employed

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to gather information on Hamlet. In

comparison, Polonius dispatches Reynaldo to check up on Laertes.

Hamlet and Laertes share similar aspects within their families.

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