Foils As Reflections Of Hamlet Essay

1072 words - 4 pages

   Foils are minor characters, that through similarities and differences, set off or accent the main characters of a play. There is a strong connection between the foils in a play and one's final perception of the main characters. In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, there is a continuous shifting of the main character's emotions. These emotions range anywhere from madness and rage to grief and sorrow. In Hamlet there is a foil that represents each emotion and behavior that is displayed by the main character- Hamlet.

      Laertes holds the most important role as a foil to Hamlet. He represents the rage that boils within Hamlet and the revenge  which he seeks. In many ways Laertes mirrors Hamlet's character. Their anger is precipitated through the same source, the untimely death of their fathers. Other similarities between the two men include the love that they both felt for Ophelia, and the heartfelt sorrow which they displayed upon her tragic death. The differences between Hamlet and Laertes become obvious as the two characters are played off of each other. Both men are the dutiful sons of their father's. However Leartes is portrayed as the well-breed son, while Hamlet's character is played down to that of a more peculiar type commoner who possesses few royal qualities. Although both men are students, Leartes prefers to indulges in a Parisian type lifestyle, whereas Hamlet chooses to study in the more subdued atmosphere of Whittenburg. There is also a difference in the way that both men react to the death of their fathers. Upon learning of his father's death, Laertes immediately allows his grievances to be known and chooses to go strait to the arena for his revenge. Hamlet chooses a more peculiar approach in seeking his revenge, as he runs around the shadows of the castle attempting to be deemed crazy.


     Polonius represents the more guarded and paranoid side of Hamlet. Both Polonius and Hamlet are constantly suspicious of other people's motives and are ready to believe the worst in their loved ones. For example, Polonius sends Reynaldo to Paris to spy on Laertes and obtain any information which may prove detrimental to his own character (pp. Act II scene 1).  This type of conduct resembles the world in which Hamlet keeps himself a prisoner of his own paranoia. In addition, it appears that both men would stop at nothing to stay on top of things. This first becomes obvious in the first scene of act two when both Polonius and Hamlet use Ophelia to hurt one another. Polonius uses her as a decoy to find out if Hamlet is truly mad, and in turn Hamlet uses her as a decoy to make her father think he was mad. The differences in these two characters are apparent from the very beginning of the play. Polonius is portrayed as a imbecile, throughout the entire play he continually makes a ragging fool of himself.  Hamlet on the other hand, only acts as a fool at times in order to maintain his attitude of madness for the...

Find Another Essay On Foils as Reflections of Hamlet

Reflections of myself as a writer

645 words - 3 pages Reflections as a WriterEveryone isn't perfect, nor is their writing. Reflecting on what kind of writer I think I am is harder than I expected it to be. It's because I don't want writing to have to do with my future career. I don't plan on becoming a journalist. I am just an average writer. When I write papers, I don't try to exceed the standard of writing more than the required length, simply because I don't want to. In high school, it seemed

A Compare/Contrast of Hamlet through his foils - Laertes, Fortinbras and Horatio

1717 words - 7 pages , without question encompasses many of Hamlet's qualities. They are both born with nobility, along with a similar lineage. However, Fortinbras is more aggressive and even sneaky. Laertes, Hamlet's late antagonist, is both impulsive and righteous. However, they differ in terms of their nobility, as well as their father's behaviour. The character traits exemplified by Hamlet also comprise his foils.In relation to Hamlet's three foils, Horatio is the most

Reflections Of Racism As Portrayed In Short Stories

971 words - 4 pages Reflections of Racism as Portrayed in Short Stories Racism, especially against black people, has been a tragic part of American history. It shaped the events of the past, and has molded the world in which we live in today. Not only is it evident in history, but also in the literature that we read. Novels and short stories have reflected the racism of its time.Racism is a historical fact of American life, and its early basis was the continuing

Hamlet as a Man of Inaction

2770 words - 11 pages Hamlet as a Man of Inaction Humans are creatures of habit, we get into a daily routine, and over time, learning from experience our mind equips itself to dealing with certain situations that we encounter on a regular basis, when this routine is broken by an unexpected event our minds can be inadequately equipped to deal with this because you can only learn from teaching or experience. When a

Character analysis of Hamlet as a tragic hero in Shakespeare's "Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark"

740 words - 3 pages Hamlet is not the usual tragic hero that Shakespeare liked to use in his works. In "The Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark" he does not die an evil man, but is complemented by Horatio and Fortinbras. There are many different thoughts on what Hamlet's tragic flaw is; jealousy, inaction, and insanity are all accepted as possibilities. Jealously and inaction are very plausible, but Hamlet was not insane.Hamlet is in love with his mother Gertrude

Complacence as a Facet of Insanity in Hamlet

2575 words - 10 pages conscious state of mind, to put it easily, that any morsel of one’s true identity reveals itself. Effectively, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a character of vast intellect appears to contradict the commonplace mould of human personality, whereas in typical occurrences lunacy occurs as a direct result of conscious deterioration, it is the progression of Hamlet’s mind which amplifies his already present insanity. Though, the essence, of his state of mind remains

An essay about the theme of appearances vs reality as it appears in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1482 words - 6 pages Hamlet - Appearances Versus RealityOne of the major themes in Hamlet by William Shakespeare is the concept of things not always being as they appear. This is demonstrated by most of the major characters in this play. Claudius brings up this factor in more than one aspect; his love for Hamlet and Gertrude can be examined in regards to appearances versus reality. Hamlet can also be viewed in this manner with respect to his sanity and his love for

Hamlet and His Sanity As Determined in a Court of Law

3042 words - 12 pages In the court of law, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet will be used as a transcript to determine the fate of Prince Hamlet as he is responsible for the death of Polonius. With the mask of insanity, Hamlet is conscious of his actions as he murders Polonius through his malicious intent upon King Claudius. Also, with Hamlet being in an intense state of emotion during his confrontation of Queen Gertrude, he intentionally murders Polonius upon adequate

The Importance of Maintaining Moral Order as it Relates to Hamlet by William Shakespeare's

1031 words - 4 pages The Importance of Maintaining Moral Order as it Relates to Hamlet by William Shakespeare's "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (Hamlet. 1.4, l.90) In every society a distinctive hierarchy or organization of power exists. In the Shakespearean world, life is kept constant through the maintenance of the Great Chain of Being or moral order. Any disruption in this chain is believed to cause chaos in society. In William

Claudius as the Personification of Evil in 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare

1238 words - 5 pages the individual rights of others on a massive scale, he/she is evil. In Shakespeare's time - the Elizabethan era - evil had a similar, but somewhat altered connotation in the human mind. Evil was an entity that violated the English Christian monarchial tradition. Therefore, a man such as Claudius, from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, a cold-blooded murderer and a ruthless manipulator, who uses "rank" deeds to usurp the thrown is in direct violation

Personal Reflections of My Experience as Operational Manager

3233 words - 13 pages for the product to be finished and to be transported to the location of the place where it will be sold. Another term for supply chain management is the Management of the chain of supplies. With supply chain management they need to manufacture goods and services such as hotels and their lodging experiences, dining experiences etc. in order for them to do this effectively they need to buy things such as furniture, food, soaps and towels and also

Similar Essays

Horatio And Laertes As Foils In Hamlet

1124 words - 4 pages   Horatio and Laertes as Foils in Hamlet          Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare is a play about a man's revenge for his father's murder and all the tragedy that comes along with it. The play takes us through the emotions and doubts Prince Hamlet finds within himself after speaking with the presumed ghost of his father, the former King of Denmark.  Through Hamlet we meet

Laertes And Fortinbras As Foils For Shakespeare's Hamlet

1656 words - 7 pages Laertes and Fortinbras as Foils for Hamlet          Hamlet, the major character in the Shakespeare play of the same name, was faced with a decision upon learning that Claudius murdered his father. Should he believe the ghost, and avenge his father's murder? Or is the ghost evil, trying to coerce him into killing Claudius? Throughout the play, we see Hamlet's struggle with this issue. Many opportunities arise for him to kill Claudius, but

Fortinbras, Laertes And Horatio, As Foils To Hamlet

1103 words - 4 pages Fortinbras, Laertes and Horatio, as Foils to Hamlet          "What a piece of work is a man!" (II, 2, 305). In his statement Prince Hamlet, in his role as the star character in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, acknowledges the complexity of man; as "infinite in faculties. . . express and admirable. . . like an angel [or] like a god. . . and yet. . . [a] quintessence of dust" (II, 2, 307) is man described. Shakespeare emphasizes the

Laertes And Fortinbras As Foils To Hamlet Play: Hamlet Playwrite: William Shakespeare

1947 words - 8 pages themselves in similar situations. While Hamlet waits for the right time to avenge his father's death, Laertes learns of his father's death and immediately wants vengeance, and Fortinbras awaits his chance to recapture land that used to belong to his father. Although Laertes and Fortinbras are minor characters, "Shakespeare molds them in order to contrast with Hamlet" ("Foils in Hamlet"). Fortinbras and, to a greater extent, Laertes act as foils to
Melrose Place (2009) | Perles au détail | Ver otras variantes