Hamlet's Foils

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“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” (Steinbeck, “Travels with Charley: In Search of America”) In other words, nothing can be appreciated without understanding its negative half. In this play by Shakespeare, Hamlet is indecisive and goes through a variety of problems in his quest for revenge. He is a complex character whose personality traits are evidently shown by the characters surrounding him. Most play writers utilize foils to help the audience understand the meaning of the play or the different motivations of the characters in the play. Foils are minor characters that have similarities and differences with the main character and serve to highlight major characteristics of that character.…show more content…
Even after having accepted Claudius being his fathers murderer, the prince (he) did not take action till the very end of the play. In fact, the ghost was forced to appear again, to remind Hamlet to act upon his revenge. Though, Hamlet’s biggest flaw was his indecisiveness, which eventually led him to his death due to his inability to take a quick action gave Claudius time to plot against him. Hamlet took action by poisoning his uncle only after Laertes had told him that the sword fight was all Claudius’s plan to manipulate Laertes into killing Hamlet for him. Laertes wanted justice for his father and all his actions were resolute due to his motivation. On the other hand, Hamlet, also wanting justice was very indecisive, and found potential excuses for preventing the death of Claudius. Another noted difference between Laertes and Hamlet was the attempt and way they went about acquiring their revenge. Hamlet was ethical, which was visible when he resisted the urge to put a sword through Claudius when the new king was at church, on the contrary, Laertes’s means of acquiring revenge was sordid, because he had poisoned the tip of his sword in a fight that Hamlet thought was fair. Compared to Hamlet, Laertes is faced with similar issues, but reacts very differently making him a foil of

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