Horatio and Laertes as Foils in Hamlet

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Horatio and Laertes as Foils in Hamlet

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare is a play about a man's revenge for his father's murder and all the tragedy that comes along with it. The play takes us through the emotions and doubts Prince Hamlet finds within himself after speaking with the presumed ghost of his father, the former King of Denmark. Through Hamlet we meet Horatio, a friend of Hamlet's and a fellow student. When reading [ref] the conversations between Hamlet and Horatio, it becomes clear how Hamlet feels about his father's murder and his plans to avenge this murder. We also meet Laertes, son of Polonius and sister to Ophelia. Through interactions with Laertes we see another side to Hamlet. The similarities and the differences between them both help to show off more of Hamlet's personality and feelings about the revenge. Through both Horatio and Laertes we see not only Hamlet's plan for revenge but also some of his feelings of doubt and confusion between what he thought he wanted and what he was actually capable of.

A foil is a minor character in a play or novel that shows the feelings and thoughts of the major character. This is done not only by the dialog between the two characters but also their similarities and differences. As a foil, Horatio can be seen as a window into what Hamlet feels and does. Horatio is one of the first to see the ghost of King Hamlet and he also informs Hamlet of this sighting. This is something that they have in common because not all of the characters can see the ghost. The queen, for instance, was unable to see it when talking to Hamlet in her ...

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...tries to do away with Hamlet right from the start. The only thing that slows him down is that Claudius wants the right time and the right place to not only make sure that Hamlet is dead but to also save him from any repercussions that might come his way from Hamlet.

Through different minor characters, the true feelings and personalities of the main character in a novel or a play come out. Hamlet's weaknesses and strengths and thoughts and desires came out because of his relationships with others. Without Horatio or Laertes the small aspects of Hamlet's personality would not be clear. This is true of every relationship whether it be fact or fiction. People, real or fake, need others about themselves. These people to Hamlet are Horatio and Laertes, and without these two essential characters,] the play would be less than great.
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