Is Laertes evil? Why is he evil?

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janeyb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is not easy to decide whether or not Laertes is evil. ALthough he conspires with claudius to kill Hamlet (clearly an evil act) he says as an aside, "''And yet it is almost against my conscience" (V.ii.296). Do evil people have a conscience? He also upon his death bed, apologizes to Hamlet and makes sure that they make up before his death. It could be said that Laertes is not an evil person, but was drawn to evil due to the circumstances of his life. After finding out that his father was dead, and his sister gone mad, Laertes was so consumed with anger and revenge that he agreed with plans to kill Hamlet, at the end, however, when the anger has seeped out of his system and he is dying, he is no longer has evil thoughts, only good.