Hamlet: Contrast Between Laertes and Hamlet


Hamlet:  Contrast Between 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 actions.

    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.

    Hamlet and Laertes demonstrate rash behaviour when infuriated.  Hamlet
becomes outraged at the notion of Claudius spying on him which results in
Hamlet mistakenly killing Polonius. Laertes becomes drastically angered at
the death of his father and boldly seeks vengeance against Claudius.
Momentary rage overcomes Laertes and Hamlet which prompts them to act
spontaneously.  Hamlet and Laertes both have a strong love for Ophelia.
Hamlet's deep love for Ophelia is evident in his reaction to her rejection
of him.  In the same way, Laertes care and affection are revealed by his
advice to his sister.  The families of Laertes and Hamlet contain similar
attributes. Hamlet

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