In “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, William Shakespeare uses the sayings and behaviors of many of his minor characters to show his audiences the true characteristics of the protagonist, Prince Hamlet. This literary device is called a foil. A foil is a character whose traits help to clarify the character of the protagonist. In this famous play, Prince Hamlet has many foils. Laertes is the most effective foil to Hamlet because of how his life and reactions compare to that of Hamlet.
In William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Hamlet, Shakespeare recounts the story of a prince who is given the task to avenge the death of his father. The play is centered around Hamlet, a student whose studies are interrupted by his father’s death. After returning to the kingdom, Hamlet encounters a ghost claiming to bear the soul of his father. Upon this confrontation, Hamlet is faced with evidence that his uncle, Claudius, murdered his father, Hamlet I. As a result, Hamlet strategizes to perform revenge on Claudius for his malefaction. Hamlet, the main protagonist, displays a multitude of dynamic traits that emerge as the play develops.
The main character in every heroic play has illustrated a set goal, whether it is anti-heroism or hero. One of the famous novel, Robin hood, depict antagonist and protagonist based on personal perspective. For example, Robin hood presented as a hero to the poor for offering them food, but the negative side is stealing and breaking the law which separated him from the classic hero characteristic. Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, protagonist Hamlet, described as anti-heroic through his action considering that, self-critical and cynical. In contrast, Hamlet draws sympathy, as well as reverence, from the reader since Hamlet feels the pain of losing his father along with the burden and impediment in avenging his murder.
Foil characters are often used to showcase the main character in a literary work. These minor characters have contrasting traits with the main character. However, sometimes the foil character shares the same traits as the main character, but the foil display their traits in a way that the main character does not. This helps to show the strengths and weaknesses of the main character. In Hamlet by Shakespeare, the characters Laertes and Fortinbras serve as foil characters to Hamlet.
A Deeper Analysis on Character Foils of Hamlet in Hamlet Character foils often allow the reader to better understand a protagonist’s personality and desires. In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Horatio, Claudius, and Laertes are exemplar character foils for the protagonist, Hamlet, and under further examination, the play suggests that these character foils help the reader to really resonate with Hamlet and depict the contrasts and similarities between Hamlet and other characters in the play. These character foils are important and significant in highlighting another character’s flaws and traits in which they may not have, compared to another character in the play. To begin with, Horatio plays a huge role in being the character foil for Hamlet.
There are many things a king needs to be great. A king needs to be well-liked by his subjects to prevent being overthrown. Kings also need confidence, and substantial knowledge of the land and of the people he rules. Being well-liked and having conviction and knowledge are very important, but most of all, a king needs to be levelheaded. In order to call the important shots that impact an entire nation, a king needs a thorough thought process to reach the proper decision.
Likewise, when Hamlet approaches Claudius in III, with the intent of killing him, he notices that Claudius is on his hands and knees praying and repenting his sins. Hamlet states, “Now might I do it pat. now he is a-praying;/ And now I’ll do’t: And so he goes to heaven:/
To be a foil character, one must “contrast with other characters in order to highlight particular qualities of the other characters.” Throughout Hamlet, four prominent characters are foil characters to Hamlet: Laertes, Fortinbras, Horatio and Claudius. In many cases, Hamlet and the foil characters react differently for each other in varying situations but yet show similarities in their reactions. The relationship created between Hamlet and Laertes takes a shift from the beginning of the book towards the end.
Due to Claudius’ power as the king of Denmark and Hamlet’s position as the heir to the throne, Hamlet cannot attack Claudius “It is not nor it cannot come to good but break my heart for I must hold my tongue”(1. 2. 50-55) until he is certain that Claudius is guilty of the murder. Hamlet is cautious as he knows that if he kills Claudius and it turns out that he was innocent Hamlet will have committed a crime against God and against Denmark and he will have deprived his mother of the man she
In the tragedy of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the dysfunctional relationships amongst family members is emphasized through the use of reoccurring parallelism between the conflicts that occur in Polonius’ family and the royal family’s conflicts. For instance, the lack of trust that Polonius and Claudius have for their sons leads them both to commission spies to strategically find out information about them. For instance, Polonius asks Reynaldo to inquire on the behaviour of his son, Laertes, by spreading false rumours to his acquaintances, in order to see if any of them counters those false claims. He informs him that through doing this, “your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth / And thus do we of wisdom and of reach / With windlasses