Parallels Essay

This essay has a total of 985 words and 5 pages.



In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the importance of characters Laertes and Fortinbras have
been an issue that's discussed and analyzed by many literary critics. Hamlet, Laertes and
Fortinbras are parallel characters in the play. Laertes and Fortinbras are often use by
Shakespeare to compare the actions and emotions of Hamlet throughout the play. "They are
also important in Hamlet as they are imperative to the plot of the play and the final
resolution" (Nardo, 88). Shakespeare placed these three men: Hamlet, Laertes and
Fortinbras into similar circumstances, which is, to avenge for their fathers' deaths. The
main difference between the three is the way that each of them comes to grief of their
fathers' deaths and the way they planned their vengeance.

"Laertes is a mirror to Hamlet. Shakespeare has made them similar in many aspects to
provide a greater base for comparison when avenging their respective fathers' deaths"
(Nardo, 90). Both Hamlet and Laertes love Ophelia in different ways. Hamlet wishes
Ophelia to become his wife, Laertes loves Ophelia as a sister. Hamlet is a scholar at
Wittenberg; Laertes is also a scholar at France. Both were brought up under this royal
family of Denmark. And both are admired for their swordsmenship. But most important of
all, both of them loved and respected their fathers greatly, and showed great devotion
when plotting to avenge their fathers' deaths.

Hamlet's response to the grief of his father is very different from Laertes. Laertes
responded immediately to the death. He showed his anger to others, he didn't hide it
inside. He is also suspicious, it's evident in his speech to Claudius, he asked, "How
came he dead? I'll not be juggled with. / To hell, allegiance" (Act 4, 5: 130)! Hamlet
however is very private with his grief. He mourned long and hard for the death of Old
King Hamlet, even two months after his father's death, after his mother's wedding to
Claudius. He is still observed by Claudius and Gertrude to be wearing กฐ . . . Suits of
solemn black"

(Act 1, 2 : 78). Claudius and Gertrude noticed and commented on his unhappiness, however,
Hamlet hides his feelings so well, it was not until his first soliloquy that we as
audiences learned the depth of his suffering.

We see the same contrast between Laertes and Hamlet again when they avenge their fathers'
deaths. Laertes again is fast to action, he wants immediate revenge for Polonius. His
immediate actions are based in anger and emotions, and therefore, rash. Also because of
his immediate want for revenge, Laertes is easily drawn into the manipulation of Claudius.
Claudius manipulates him into becoming an ally to kill Hamlet. Laertes is confident with
his abilities, he says กฐ . . . my revenge will come; only I'll be revenged / Most
throughly for my father" (Act 4 5:135). Contrasting to Laertes' quick response, Hamlet
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