The Importance Of Foils In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, there are foil characters to the main protagonist of the story, Hamlet. Foil characters are secondary characters who contrast the main character of the story in order to emphasize certain traits or characteristics of the protagonist. In the play, Hamlet has two foils, Laertes and Prince Fortinbras, who both contrast some of Hamlet’s character traits in order to highlight their importance to the events of the play. The foil characters reveal to both the audience and Hamlet the difference between his mentality and actions to that of Fortinbras and Laertes’. Act 4 underlines the main differences between Hamlet and his foils; the foils inspire Hamlet to take his own course of action and avenge his father’s death. In the play, it is very easy for the audience to notice the contrasting mentalities between Hamlet and his foils. Throughout the play, the audience witnesses Hamlet shy away from seeking revenge on his father’s murderer, and instead talks himself out of proceeding with his deed. Laertes is completely different in regards to taking revenge. He hears the news of his father’s death and immediately returns from France to avenge the murder of his father.…show more content…
To add to the foil of Hamlet with Laertes is the Prince of Norway, Fortinbras, who has a similar story to that of Hamlet. Hamlets father had killed King Fortinbras, father of Prince Fortinbras, in battle to seize all of his land. Prince Fortinbras wishes to avenge his father’s death and reclaim the land he lost, similarly to Hamlet wanting to take the life of Claudius and reclaim his heir to the throne and his land. However, there is a major difference between Fortinbras and Hamlet, and that is their willingness to complete their task at hand. Hamlet wishes he had the same drive and determination as Fortinbras does. In his soliloquy in Act 4, Hamlet
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