Juxtaposition In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Juxtaposition is a device that is often used to enhance and relate certain aspects of a writing piece. William Shakespeare uses this device in his plays to emphasize characteristics, themes and even scenes. He does this so that the elements that are being highlighted show major significance throughout the tragedy. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet juxtaposition is evident in the circumstances of the characters as well as their morals. Characters in the play that are juxtaposed against each other are Hamlet with Laertes, Hamlet again with Fortinbras and Ophelia with Gertrude. Overall they are parallel to each other and are considered foil characters due to their similarities and even differences. Hamlet and Laertes are juxtaposed in Shakespeare’s Hamlet…show more content…
Hamlet questions what may or may not happen however Laertes just wants the revenge fast and effective. Although these characters have different standards when it comes to revenge, they both immediately blamed and directed their anger towards Claudius when they found out their father’s were dead. Hamlet’s reason to blame Claudius is simply because he is his father’s murderer. In 1.5 while Hamlet is talking to the ghost of his father he says, “Haste me to know ’t, that I, with wings as swift/As meditation or the thoughts of love/May sweep to my revenge” (Shakespeare 1.5.31-33). At first is seems as if Hamlet would seek revenge right away because he seems eager to find out who the killer is and when he does find out he says he knew it was Claudius all along. He is furious and after this part in the play, Hamlet’s anger is mainly focused on Claudius. On the other hand when Laertes found out Polonius is dead he went straight to Claudius assuming it was him. By doing this he shows that he is controlled by his impulses unlike Hamlet who waited until he got proof to act on his fury. Laertes also blamed Claudius for not giving his father a proper burial, which can relate to Hamlet’s anger too because Hamlet felt as if there was not enough mourning for his father death. Not only did they both lose their fathers, but they both lost Ophelia, a female figure in their lives that they both loved.…show more content…
The relation between these two characters is a lot like the juxtaposition with Hamlet and Laertes. Just like Hamlet and Laertes, Fortinbras’ father, King Fortinbras, was also killed but the way he died was in a battle with King Hamlet. Hamlet and Fortinbras’ circumstances are almost identical. Their fathers were both murdered, both their uncles are on the throne and they are both princes of their countries. Revenge is the motive for both of these princes because of their dead fathers, but the way and the reason they seek it is extremely different. Hamlet wants revenge because the ghost of his father told him to and Fortinbras wants revenge to reclaim the land that his father lost when he died. Fortinbras is more focused on the honour of his country, Norway, but all Hamlet cares about is killing his fathers murderer. Hamlet’s morals slow down the process of his revenge whereas Fortinbras’ firm attitude makes him act faster. Hamlet later develops some jealously towards Fortinbras, he says, “Rightly to be great/Is not to stir without great argument/But greatly to find quarrel in a straw/When honor’s at the stake” (Shakespeare 4.4.53-56). Hamlet is saying that if Fortinbras is taking such quick action for a little bit of land that means nothing then what does that make Hamlet? He says in order for him to be great like Fortinbras he must take violent action. Hamlet and Fortinbras are both equally rebellious
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