• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Consider Laertes's contribution to the theme of revenge.' Hamlet

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Consider Laertes's contribution to the theme of revenge.' -----Hamlet Of the various parallels between Hamlet and Laertes is one of the most telling. From the beginning of the play we see the two in comparable situations, each young men of the court, each seeking university, each spied on by Polonius, each (it would appear) loving Ophelia, in different ways. Therefore, when Laertes finds himself in Hamlet's position of having a father murdered, the audience watches with interest to see how he will react, and how this will compare with Hamlet's behaviour in the same situation. In fact, although Hamlet points out that: 'by the image of my cause I can see The portraiture of his' Laertes reaction to murder of his father is very different from hamlet's, and indeed he is everything which Hamlet rebukes himself for failing to b. He forms the very epitome of a traditional avenger, and almost everything he does forms a contrast with what Hamlet does not do. Immediately as he returns to the court 'in a riotous head', having recruited 'a rabble', to aid him in his revenge. ...read more.

Middle

Laertes falls into the same category as Fortinbras, who with his 'unimproved mettle hot and full' seeks revenge on Denmark for winning and taking control of what had been his father's lands, and Pyrrhus, who brutally kills an old and defenceless man in the name of revenge. All these characters' unhesitating and decisive action, and what seems to be their lack of fear at the consequences, throw Hamlet's indecisiveness very much into relief, for whilst he can only 'unpack (his) heart with words', they can 'sweep...to revenge' as he longs to. However, it is \Claudius, not Laertes, who actually states that 'Revenge should have no bounds', which is not only ironic, since it is Hamlet's hesitation alone which has saved him so far, but - I feel - also has sinister undertones, since one would hardly have put such words into the mouth of the clearest villain of the play without implying that this sentiment is also, somehow, villainous. Of course, as Claudius is here manipulating Laertes' strong desire for revenge, it would be unwise to attach too much importance to this point, but it is nevertheless interesting to examine our attitude to Laertes' attitude towards revenge as opposed to Hamlet's. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this rage, this refusal to reason calmly and to reflect on what has happened, allows the slippery Claudius to manipulate Laertes for his own ends, leading to the treachery which destroys Claudius and Laertes themselves, and Gertrude, as well Hamlet. Ultimately, there is a certain nobility t be found in the exchange of forgiveness between hamlet and Laertes (the final link the latter's assurance that: 'Mine and my father's death come not upon thee, Nor thine on me!' Which is greater than Laertes' revengeful triumph over Hamlet. This is not to say that Shakespeare's presentation of Laertes serves entirely as an indictment of the process of revenge. Both hamlet and Laertes speak of the 'honour' of revenge, and finally does kill Claudius, that he is 'justly served.' However, I can feel that considering Laertes' contribution to the theme of revenge is only useful when seen alongside hamlet's reaction to the same theme, and perhaps this portrayal of a traditional avenger who is only useful when seen alongside hamlet's reaction to the same theme, and perhaps this portrayal of a traditional avenger who is rash, manipulative and finally self-destructive, allows us to see hamlet in a more favourable light when he is unable to assume the same role as traditional avenger. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the presentation of revenge in 'Hamlet'.

    4 star(s)

    With Laertes away, she has no-one left to protect her and is very much alone. In many ways, Hamlet himself is a victim of revenge, as he used as a tool by his father, to instigate revenge against old Hamlets killer.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Hamlet - It's hard to define what revenge actually is.

    3 star(s)

    This brings me onto my next character analysis, Claudius. Claudius is the reason that the whole main problem started in the first place. He is a very jealous person. We can tell this by the way he killed King Hamlet (his brother) and married his brother's widow, the Queen, Gertrude. This is a very jealous act to carry out.

  1. Compare and Contrast theCharacters Hamlet and Laertes.

    When brought to the call of avenging his father's death, Laertes is fast to act, he wants revenge and he wants it immediately. His actions are rash, being based in anger, and Claudius easily draws him into Denmark's corruption. Claudius manipulates Laertes into becoming an ally to kill Hamlet.

  2. Comparing the revengers Fortinbras, Laertes and Hamlet.

    He wants immediate action and is determined to take revenge. 'How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with. To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!' (Lines 127-128). Here Laertes speaks boldly and passionately - he will revenge! He uses curses - 'To hell, allegiance!'

  1. Explore how Shakespeare examines the theme of revenge in Hamlet.

    The repetition of 'Remember thee' has a dramatic effect it makes the revenge seem even more important. He encounters with the ghost ends with a brash 'sworn' promise from Hamlet. This is extremely dramatic as it tells the audience that something major is going to occur.

  2. Explore the differences in the ways Hamlet and Laertes go about seeking revenge

    Among the many aphorisms given by Polonius, he warns Laertes too not "give any unproportioned thought his act; Later on in the play, we can of course, see that Laertes ignores this heartfelt piece of advice when seeking revenge on Hamlet.

  1. "Hamlet is better at talking about delay than he is at doing it. Consider ...

    The murder of Polonius for example, took place very much in the heat of the moment. Even the Queen proclaims it a "rash and bloody deed!" All this seems to imply that Hamlet believes that there is a form of life after death, be it heaven and hell or an eternal sleep filled with dreams.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    shun the brooding storm, but so it was - and I watched it, pitying, as it flitted, poor bird! hither and hither, with its silver pinions shining against the black thunder-cloud, till, after a few giddy whirls, it fell, blinded, affrighted, and bewildered, into the turbid wave beneath, and was swallowed up for ever.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work