Hamlet, Laertes And Fortinbras Essay

This essay has a total of 1159 words and 4 pages.

Hamlet, Laertes And Fortinbras

Hamlet, Fortinbras and Leartes are all very different people with different lives, but as
these men interact in the play we learn that there are many circumstances surrounding them
that mysteriously connect them. All three of these characters had some reason to avenge
some circumstance in their life, but they all had a very different way of conquering the
object of their hatred.FortinbrasFortinbras had levied an army to attack and conquer
Denmark. Though son of the late King of Norway, the crown of Norway had gone to his uncle,
just as the crown of Denmark had gone to Hamlet's uncle. This shows that in the world of
the play it was not unusual for brothers to late kings to be elected to the throne over
the pretensions of their younger nephews. But Fortinbras was not prepared to accept his
constitutional dispossession so easily. If he had been deprived of the throne of his
father, he would try to conquer a kingdom of his own in which, as he later tells Horatio,
he has "some rights of memory."Fortinbras is not willing to put an end to his military
adventures. Desiring to win honor through the sword, he cares not that the prize of his
glory is worthless or that he will sacrifice thousands of lives and much wealth for this
hollow victory. Like Hamlet, Sr., Fortinbras is an empire builder who desires only to
fight for glory and so, in an ironic way, he is fitted by character to inherit the kingdom
of Hamlet, Sr.LeartesLaertes is a young man whose good instincts have been somewhat
obscured by the concern with superficial appearances which he has imbibed from his father,
Polonius. Like his father, Laertes apparently preaches a morality he does not practice and
fully believes in a double standard of behavior for the sexes. But if his father allows
him these liberties, it is that he may better approximate the manner of a so - called
gentleman. More concerned with the outward signs of gentility than with any inner
refinement of spirit, Laertes has well observed his father's advice to be concerned with
appearances since "the apparel oft proclaims the man."As unconcerned for the order of
society as he is for his own salvation, he would rather "dare damnation" than leave his
father's honor and his own besmirched. Though the sight of his sister's madness brings him
to a moment of true grief, he is still primarily enraged by his father's "obscure funeral
- / No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones, / No noble rite nor formal
ostentation." To vindicate his honor, Laertes stoops to a most dishonorable
practice.Laertes is so concerned about his formal and outward "terms of honor" that he
cannot permit his natural feelings to rule his will. In this concern for outward honor he
further dishonors himself by the false statement that he will act honorably with Hamlet.
Saying that "I do receive your offered love like love, / And will not wrong it," he goes
and chooses the lethally sharp and poisoned weapon. Had Laertes acted upon the honorable
promptings of his conscience, he would have avoided his own death and, by allying himself
with Hamlet, would have won the gratitude of the future King. Laertes' false sense of
honor and pride override his better instincts to the fatal harm of both. Recognizing his
dishonor too late and admitting that he is "justly killed with mine own treachery,"
Laertes finally rises to the true honor of admitting his fault to Hamlet, informing him of
Claudius' designs, and then, in a tragically belated reconciliation withHamlet, offering
him an exchange of forgiveness. But if his rise to true honor finally redeems him in our
eyes, his false honor has destroyed his life.HamletHamlet dares us, along with Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern, to "pluck out the heart of my mystery." This mystery marks the essence
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