Both Laertes and Hamlet both have similar and unique personality traits. These two characters are essential parts to the structure and theme of this play. Laertes tends to be possibly, in my opinion, an earlier version of Hamlet. Laertes has a positive outlook on life and seems to make the best of his life. Hamlet on the other hand looks at life only for its negative qualities and it almost seems that Hamlet wants to have more bad things to look at and have a reason to be depressed about. His very first sentence, “A little more than kin, and less than kind.”, shows that Hamlet is very suspicious of the current king although he has no justifiable reason to be. One of the most important sentences in comparing Hamlet and Laertes I believe is, “Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not “seems.”. Hamlet is here comparing reality vs appearance. The rest of the play revolves around the idea of how things appear and how they are in reality. Laertes on the other hand, I believe, is the character in the play that is meant to bring out Hamlet s evil qualities and present Hamlet as the villain. The sentence, “The virtues of his will; but you must fear, His greatness weigh d, his will is not his own, For he himself is subject to his birth.”, is an important one in contributing to Laertes character. He is saying to Ophelia that to be careful of Hamlet, because he s royalty, and she s not! . But he is also saying that Hamlet is subject to his birth, or in other words, Hamlet is only human such as she is, and subject to the same feelings and actions. Laertes character is a very pleasant one. He seems, unlike Hamlet, to get along with his family. The sentence “But let me hear from you”, implies that Laertes and Ophelia are close because Laertes wishes her to write. Hamlet on the other hand, does not get along with his family. This is shown by his suspicion of his uncle and his idea to see his reaction when his fathers death is reenacted before his uncle. I believe that Laertes is a younger version of Hamlet because Hamlet most likely had a positive outlook on life and was happy in his family before all this tragedy entered his life. All in all, Laertes role in this play is to bring down Hamlet s role as the hero, and to exemplify his negative characteristics. Hamlet s main role in this play is, to continuously challenge and question the reality of things vs the appearance of them.
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