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Hamlet, Laertes & Fortinbras: Avenging Their Fathers

Term Paper Title: Hamlet, Laertes & Fortinbras: Avenging Their Fathers
Word Count: 1335
Page Count: 5.34 (250 words per page double spaced)

Hamlet, Laertes & Fortinbras: Avenging Their Fathers

In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the theme of revenge is very palpable as the reader examines the characters of Hamlet himself, as well as Laertes, son of Polonius, and Fortinbras, prince of Norway and son of the late King Fortinbras.  Each of these young characters felt the need to avenge the deaths of their fathers who they felt were untimely killed at the bloody hands of their murderers.  However, the way each chose to go about this varies greatly and gives insight into their characters and how they progress throughout the play.
     Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras are similar in the fact that each had love, or at least respect their fathers.  Enough to make an attempt to wreak revenge upon their fathers murderers at the risk of their own reputation, freedom, and souls.  Each characters father had a substantially high social class in their respective countries, which in turn gives them high social class as well.  With Hamlet and Fortinbras as sons of kings and Laertes as the son of an aristocrat of high regard in the Danish court, all had a lot to loose if unsuccessful in their ploy.   Each of the sons believed that the killers had dishonored their fathers as well as themselves.  Each acts in a way that they consider to be an attempt at restoring it to the family, as honor was a significant thing to uphold in this day.  
     Although similar in age, class and ambition to destroy their fathers killers, Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras each have characteristics that make them different from each other and show how each acted unlike the others when carrying out their plans.  Hamlet seems to be the one who lets things dwell in his mind before taking any action or making an attempt at trying to get on with things.  He shows this after the death of his father when he remains in morning and a depressed state for three months without trying to get on with his life.  Laertes seems to be the more quick minded of the three as he makes hasty judgements about Hamlet and is quick to force his opinion upon his sister, Ophelia about his fears for her if she stays in the relationship. “For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor, hold it a fashion and a toy in blood, a violet in the youth of primy nature, forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, the perfume and suppliance of a minute—No more.” (Act 1, Scene 3, 5-10).  Ophelia answers by telling Laertes that he should follow his own advice and withhold from being “like a puffed and reckless libertine.” (Act1, Scene 3, 49).  Polonius later reinforces this reckless view of Laertes character by wanting to send spies to France to observe his son’s habits.  In the beginning of the play, we learn young Fortinbras has martial intentions towards Denmark and that Claudius views this as a threat as he makes plans to embark on military preparations of his own to defend his country.   “So by his father lost; and this I take it is the main motive of our preparations.” (Act 1, Scene 1, 104-105).  This shows the courage Fortinbras has to take up arms against a country that had recently defeated his own.
     Judging from the differences of the three men, it is obvious that they will each take different paths in dealing with the deaths of their fathers.  Laertes acts the most irrationally and hastily, showing his reckless nature as he storms the castle of Denmark overthrowing the guards and demanding answers about his fathers death and questionable funeral.  He is enraged that his father was not buried with his sword and that there was no memorial or tablet displaying their family coat of arms.  He gives no thought to the damnation of his soul ...

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