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Compare and contrast the characters of Laertes, Fortinbras, and Horatio to each other...

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kristina-steuble | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 19, 2007 at 12:42 AM via web

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Compare and contrast the characters of Laertes, Fortinbras, and Horatio to each other in terms of their role in the action of the play.

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted December 19, 2007 at 1:32 AM (Answer #1)

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Horatio is Hamlet's best friend, and he is the most reliable character in the play. Everyone who knows him trusts him. In terms of what a good friend should be, Horatio is the epitome of a good friend to Hamlet. He even wants to kill himself when Hamlet is killed, but Hamlet begs him not to.

Laertes is nothing like Horatio. He's overprotective of Ophelia, his sister, and swears vengeance for his father's death. Yet, he can't understand why Hamlet wants vengeance for his own father's death.  I believe he's jealous of Hamlet, and he's hot-headed, acting before he thinks. He conspires with Claudius against Hamlet. He is a character we cannot admire until the end.

Fortinbras is very much like Hamlet, as far as his situation goes.  His own father has died, and he wants to avenge his father's death also. He speaks well of Hamlet in the end and grants him a soldier's death. Hamlet names him as the rightful successor to Denmark's throne. His purpose is to provide a comparison to Hamlet and to provide a leader for Denmark when everyone else dies.

For more information on all characters, go to the characters link on the right side of the site below.


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