Laertes, a character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is best described as “passionate.” He is the son of Polonius and the brother of Ophelia, and serves as a foil to Hamlet. Although he has a relatively small role in the play, his internal conflict is evident.
Initially, Laertes is depicted as a loyal and loving son and brother. His generosity and devotion to his family set him apart as a virtuous character. However, in act IV, his participation in the play becomes crucial. When he hears of his father’s death, he returns to Denmark and rallies a mob to take the castle and oppose Claudius. His boldness and determination demonstrate his passionate nature.
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Laertes demands that Claudius give him his father and calls him a “vile king” in scene 5. He shows courage and conviction in his subsequent speech, stating that his father’s blood cries out to him for revenge. However, Claudius is able to persuade him to take revenge on Hamlet instead for his father’s death.
Laertes is convinced of Hamlet’s guilt in scene 7 and runs out in a rage. He is unable to control his grief, and his emotions take over as he forbids himself from shedding tears for his sister Ophelia. His passionate nature is evident in his fiery speech and his intense desire for revenge.
Passion and rage are powerful emotions that can drive a person to action. Laertes’ actions and words demonstrate his passionate nature and his unwavering determination to avenge his father’s death. Despite his small role in the play, his character serves as an important contrast to Hamlet and adds depth to the story.
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