foils

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William Shakespeare once said "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" Greatness is within ourselves. Some more known than others. William Shakespeare is timeless for his creative and brilliant writing. He cunningly uses many techniques. In the epic tragedy Hamlet, William Shakespeare craftily designs the supporting characters of Ophelia, Laertes, and Fortinbras as foils to the main character of Hamlet; in so doing, this literary technique compares and contrasts their natures and reveals Hamlet's true character.
To begin, the two cross-eyed lovers in Hamlet, Ophelia and Hamlet, both illustrate distinct similarities and differences between their two dispositions. Ophelia’s relationships between her various family members reflect Hamlet’s own affinities with his family members. Due to their unusual love for each other, Hamlet and Ophelia causes Polonius, Ophelia’s father, to question and misunderstand the fluctuating state of the two lover’s relationship. After asking about Ophelia’s budding relationship with Hamlet, Polonius warns the young girl to stay far away from the youthful prince of Denmark, for she should not “believe in his vows; for they are brokers.” (1.3.127) Polonius’ accusations illustrate the father’s parental authority and his complete dejection of the blossoming relationship, completely misconceiving and ignoring his daughter’s want to be with Hamlet. Moreover, Hamlet’s madness throughout the tragedy causes his mother, Gertrude, to face similar problems to Polonius with misunderstanding her son. Due to a series of misfortunate events, Hamlet ends up brutally murdering Polonius, and he wishes for his mother, who watches the murder, to keep the killing a secret from Cla...

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...en more shocking because Fortinbras, the quietly pursuing shadow of Hamlet, is thrust into power and into Hamlet’s place of worthy fortune. As the tragedy comes to a close, Fortinbras is the only individual with the power to glue all the pieces of the ruined royal family together. In conclusion, where's Hamlet often speaks his mind with his eloquent flow of words: the frame of a picture, Fortinbras speaks with his actions: the enthralling image within the frame.
Shakespeare makes his writing complicated like a puzzle. There are many pieces to fit together, but in the end, makes a complete beautiful picture. There are many secondary characters that interact with one another. It is confusing, but in the end, they all work together as foils to reveal the true character of disheveled Hamlet. By having these kinds of ideas it truly distinguishes Shakespeare as a genius.

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