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Provoking Revenge in Hamlet

Uploaded by prepstargirl on Feb 27, 2000

Storming into the palace and throwing accusations at Claudius, Laertes reveals he is impulsive. Laertes anger is due to the dishonor that has been inflicted on his family by Polonius’s murder. Claudius takes advantage of the sudden appearance of Laertes, by provoking Laertes into assisting him in plotting Hamlet’s murder. Shakespeare uses Laertes not only as a catalyst in the story, but as a contrast to the pensive Hamlet. Both men seek the same kind of justice but chose different paths to attain it. Laertes acts on anger without thinking, but Hamlet waits, debating the consequence of committing murder. Laertes function is to contrast Hamlet’s sensibility with his incensed spontaneity. Claudius manipulates to his advantage Laertes lack of hesitation and hot temper. Winning Laertes support by painting Hamlet as a malicious killer Claudius provokes Laertes to avenge Polonius. Claudius gives Laertes initiative to kill Hamlet saying for Hamlet’s "death no wind of blame shall breathe"(227) on the killer. Laertes is eager to "be the organ"(227) that aids Claudius in killing Hamlet, but to make sure Laertes is not "a face without a heart"(231) Claudius questions Laertes love for his father. This is Laertes breaking point. Laertes wants immediate action so that his "revenge will come"(225), not thinking of the consequence. His ability to ignore what will result from his revenge contrasts Hamlet’s turmoil over killing Claudius. Because Hamlet thinks before he acts he is regarded more highly than Laertes. Both men swear to avenge their fathers’ murder but approach the task in different ways. Laertes wants to "dare damnation"(215) letting "come what comes"(215) from killing Hamlet. The idea of not avenging Polonius is unthinkable to Laertes. He is driven by his anger and can see no other option than to kill Hamlet. However Hamlet considers his situation, studying what will come if he kills the king. Hamlet frustrates himself because he cannot bring himself to kill Claudius wanting to "have grounds more relative than"(119) ghost or suspicion. Hamlet wants to be sure Claudius committed the murder before he kills him, but Laertes accuses whomever he suspects of killing Polonius without debating motive. Because Hamlet does not leap to kill as Laertes does, Hamlet is seen as the sensible of the two, justified for waiting to kill Claudius and not rushing into murder. Laertes is used in Act IV as a comparison to Hamlet because as the conclusion to the play draws near...

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Uploaded by:   prepstargirl

Date:   02/27/2000

Category:   Hamlet

Length:   2 pages (488 words)

Views:   1719

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