Importance Of Foil Characters In Hamlet

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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. All three of these characters’ fathers have died and Shakespeare shows three different ways to deal with it through these three characters. The actions of foil characters Laertes and Fortinbras helped show Hamlet’s character. When Hamlet’s father was killed, he was struck with grief. So much so, that Claudius, his stepfather, called him out and told him he needed to stop crying about his death. He was then visited by the ghost of his…show more content…
Fortinbras is trying to take over the country that Hamlet is prince of. Laertes challenges Hamlet to a fencing match where he intends to kill him. The immediate action of Fortinbras and Laertes highlights Hamlet’s lack of action. The fact that Hamlet is enemies with the two helps to show Shakespeares’ meaning: take action for what is right. Hamlet doesn’t want to take action but his enemies do. The actions of foil characters Laertes and Fortinbras helped show Hamlet’s character. Laertes and Fortinbras’ immediate action showcased Hamlet’s hesitation to get revenge. The relationship between these characters show that Shakespeare wanted to encourage people to take action for what they believe in. Fortinbras illuminates this. He took immediate action and tried to honor his father in the best way he could. He ended up completing his goal and taking over Denmark in place of his father. Both Laertes and Hamlet died, showing that lack of action and overexcited action don’t
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