In the play Hamlet, William Shakespeare writes of a tragedy in which Hamlet and Laertes both face the same problem-a murdered father. The paths of revenge that each of them take, parallel their characters and personalities throughout the play. While Hamlet broods over the murder of his father for the majority of the play, Laertes takes immediate action, and upon hearing about the death of his father, he rushes in and is ready to kill Claudius-whom he suspects has killed his father.
When they first hear the news of their father’s death, Hamlet and Laertes react in very different ways. When Hamlet hears that Claudius was the one who killed his father, his immediate reaction was grief. This is no surprise, due to the fact that he was still mourning the death of his father, although everyone else had already gotten over it. In fact, most people thought that he was overdoing it ,and Claudius went so far as to tell him that he should get over it, and “Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature that we with wisest sorrow think on him together with remembrance of ourselves” (act one, scene two).
The way that Hamlet plans his revenge, is more intelligent than the way Laertes plans his. While Hamlet is a more intellectual person, as we can see from his quick wit and sarcasm, Laertes is more impulsive and “acts, then thinks” as we can see when he says “I am justly killed with mine own treachery” (act five, scene two). In such a situation, had the play not ended the way it did, Hamlet may have been more successful in avenging his father’s murder because of his responsibility and intellect. Despite the fact that Hamlet procrastinates, Hamlet was smarter in the way he planned his revenge because his procrastination was due to his grief and foresight. Although Laertes trait of acting quickly can be admired and gets the job done, in a situation that involves death and vengeance, strategy and discretion are a must.
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