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Shakespeare's Hamlet: compare and contrast Hamlet vs. Laertes

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Shakespeare's Hamlet: compare and contrast Hamlet vs. Laertes

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  • April 3, 2003
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No two individuals are alike, regardless of similar upbringing. It is reasonable to assume that even twins brought up in exactly the same environment, sharing the same daily activities, and living practically the same life, will act differently when faced with the same situation. Each individual evolves with his or her own uniqueness, style, and way of life. The audience witnesses this phenomenon in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Lord Hamlet and Laertes experienced similar childhoods, and shared similar family attributes. They were both born into royalty and throughout their lives were treated as such. Hamlet and Laertes were reared with the same forms of schooling, and were taught to abide by the same ethics and morals. Although Hamlet and Laertes seem to be "twined" with regard to family, royalty, and school, it is evident to the audience how such environmentally similar people can react so differently when faced with comparable situations. One such example arises when Hamlet and Laertes are consumed by a very basic human characteristic, that of revenge. Hamlet and Laertes, although very similar in most respects, differ in that Laertes is driven by passion and Hamlet is driven by reason.

Shakespeare exposes to his audience the similarities between Hamlet and Laertes in various instances throughout the play. It is known to the reader that Hamlet and Laertes are both sons of royalty, Hamlet being the son of the former true king of Denmark, King Hamlet, and Laertes being the son of the trusted counselor to the king, Polonius. The reader is able to deduce from the manner of both families, that although they differ, they live very similar lives, and their sons Hamlet and Laertes are quite alike. For example, Hamlet and Laertes have a unique similar respect for their fathers. In one instance, in Hamlet's first soliloquy, he proclaims respect towards his father in saying that he was an excellent king, like the glorious sun god of classical mythology, and that he is so...