Compare and contrust between Hamlet and LAERTESMAKE THE ANSWER VERY MUCH BROAD

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jseligmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Laertes and Hamlet are about the same age. Laertes has a sister, and Hamlet is an only child. Laertes has a father (Polonius), but his mother is probably dead. Hamlet has a dead father (the ghost of King Hamlet) and a living mother, Queen Gertrude.

After Hamlet kills Polonius, Laertes and Hamlet have something very significant in common: a murdered father. Now, unlike Hamlet, when Laertes learns about the murder he is all fired up and ready to avenge his father's death immediately. No waiting around and thinking about things and planning things, and talking and talking for Laertes; he's all business and ready to kill. We see in Laertes a reverse mirror image of Hamlet. He's simple and straight forward in his resolve in contrast to Hamlet's meandering path to the task that has befallen him.

If you remember, in Act 3, scene 3 Hamlet was about to kill Claudius but stopped because the King was praying. Now here's an exchange (Act 4, scene 7) between Claudius and Laertes that highlights the differences in Laertes' and Hamlet's appoach to revenge. Claudius has told Laertes that Hamlet killed his father and says:

Hamlet comes back. What would you undertake

To show yourself your father's son in deed

More than in words?


To cut his throat i' the church.

That says it all.

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