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Hamlet the Avenger

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The Battle of the Avengers
Ms. Kresnik
Joshua Service
ENG4U
November 5, 2012

The oxford dictionary describes an avenger as a person who sets out to punish or hurt somebody in return for something bad or wrong that has been done to them, their family or friends. Such a motive can be argued as the fuel for Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras. In the play Hamlet, by William F. Shakespeare; Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes are all noble young men avenging the deaths of their fathers. However, the ways these characters went about with their revenge were in complete contrast with each other. While hamlet waits and analyzes the death of his father before seeking revenge, Laertes hears of his father’s death and immediately seeks vengeance on Polonius’ murderer and Fortinbras strives to regain the land lost from the success of King Hamlet. Laertes and Fortinbras are essentially foils to Hamlet for they are everything Hamlet is not.

Hamlet at first is in too deep of grief and despair to act on the revenge against his father’s murderer. He holds back from acting off of these feelings until his emotions overcome his procrastination. When hamlets emotions get the best of him, he unknowingly kills Polonius who is the father of Laertes and Ophelia believing that it was indeed King Claudius. This action later causes Laertes to go after Hamlet. Hamlet wants to kill Claudius but doesn’t kill him in the scene because Claudius was praying and he does not want to kill Claudius while he is repenting his sins less he gets a chance to go to heaven. Hamlet wants to catch Claudius in an act of sin, drunkenness, anger or lust. Such thoughts show great and deep thinking unlike Laertes. Hamlet does not want to risk the chance that Claudius has an opportunity to confess. Unfortunately such a delay was in vain because Claudius could not pray, “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below” (III.iii.96). One would think the act of Claudius praying was enough proof for Hamlet to now know that it...