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Foils in Hamlet
A foil is a minor charater in a literary work that compliments the main character through similarities and differences in personality and plot. Among all the foils in Shakespear[e]'s "Hamlet," [Titles] Laertes has the biggest impact on Hamlet's character. While Hamlet maintained his status as prince, it was Laertes that represented the well bred son of the royal family and the traditional revenge hero. [The thesis does not cover the essay.]
Some similarities in Laertes and Hamlet were that they were both students. Laertes and Hamlet were dutiful sons that [who] were outraged and felt personally wronged by their fathers' deaths. They swore to get revenge against the assailant. Laertes and Hamlet both blamed Claudius for the deaths of their fathers'. [no '] Also, Hamlet and Laertes posed a threat to Claudius because of their potential for becoming king. They go above the law in order to seek justice, which discredits the honorable basis of their actions. There was a shared love for Laertes's sister, Ophelia. Hamlet and Laertes have seen the ghost of Hamlet's father. [?]
One of the differences in Laertes and Hamlet was that Laertes allowed his anger and grievance of his father's death to be known. Whereas when Hamlet's father died, he secretatively [sic] ran [?] and was deemed crazy. Laertes goes to school and indulged in a Parisian lifestyle, as Hamlet chose to study at Wittenburg in a more subdued environment. [Interesting point] Laertes has a lot of passion whereas Hamlet has none. Laertes was only raised by his father as Hamlet had a mother and father to raise him. Also, Laertes was portrayed as the well bred son of the counselor of a royal family and Hamlet portrayed [?] the role of a commoner. The ghost of Hamlet's father would talk to Laertes as he would to Hamlet. [Not true]
Being an ambitious young prince was a similarity in Fortinbras and Hamlet. They are both on a mission of revenge. Also, both Fortinbras and Hamlet lost their fathers'. [no '] Ironically Denmark is a similarity because it was initially controlled by Fortinbras' father, then Hamlet[' H-50]s' father, then Hamlet, and finally returning to Fortinbras. [Nice point] Fortinbras had a family tie with Hamlet's love Ophelia. [This needs a citation from the play -- I don't remember it.
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There are differences in Fortinbras and Hamlet. Fortinbras seemed to be more eager to prove his courage than Hamlet. Fortinbras uses his anger and sorrow by attacking Denmark and reclaiming the land his father lost, while Hamlet has no actions. Fortinbras had no trouble slaying the innocent whereas Hamlet had a problem with slaying the guilty. [Nice Point!] The ghost of Hamlet's father wouldn't talk to Fortinbras, but htte [sic] ghost would talk to Hamlet.
Polonius represented the guarded side of Hamlet. Both men are aware of other people's motives. Polonius and Hamlet think the worst from their loved ones. An example: [For example,] Polonius ordered Reynaldo to go to Paris to spy on Laertes (Act II scene I). This behavior relates to Hamlet as he keeps himself confined. [It's a very nice point, but it needs a better example for Hamlet.] Polonius and Hamlet both seemed to stay abrupt [?] of things.
There are differences between Polonius and Hamlet. Polonius was portrayed as a weak person throughout the play. Hamlet acted as a mad person [cut: in order to continue his attitude of a mad person] in order to achieve his plan to kill the king. polonius would do anything to prove his loyality [sic] to the king, even before the ghost reveals Claudius is responsible for King Hamlet's death.
In conclusion there are foils in Shakespeare's "Hamlet," that compliment the main character through similarities and differences. Hamlet's character is impacted by Laertes, Fortinbras, Polonius, and others. The main reason for foils in Shakespeare's "Hamlet", they in one way or another have a mirror image to Hamlet character. [SS]
Barnet, S., Berman, M., Burto, W. Stubbs, M., Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, 4th Edition, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 1996.