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Hamlet vs. Laertes in the Play


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 

 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 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 
and Laertes hold a high admiration for their fathers and are willing 
to even kill the king to enact revenge. Both characters exercise a 
dominating attitude towards females. In conclusion, although 
adversaries, Hamlet and Laertes share several characteristics which 
make them similar.


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