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Hamlet-Laertes Justice Seminar

By michaelwaizi Jun 10, 2013 1268 Words
What Goes Around Comes Around
The feeling of justice is brought by the sense of wrongfulness. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Laertes a minor character in the play is needed in order to push the theme of justice. For there to be a want in justice, there must be an injustice in the characters life, Laertes feels betrayed by Hamlet due to the unjust deaths of the ones close to him. The character that feels he was treated unjustly then pushes his agenda toward the denomination that he seeks to face in order to make the individuals self, feel equal or more superior to the person that has created the wrongful decision. Laertes wants revenge against Hamlet and Claudius for the all the pain he is suffering. Once justice is acquired by the person seeking it they can live haply or die peacefully. Laertes finally finds his justice and dies peacefully. In order to gain full peace form of justice there must be an injustice.

Those who seek justice, are normally the ones that lose something, they feel will never be brought back. Laertes’s father, Polonius is killed by Hamlet, unjustly. After Hamlets father’s death, Hamlet begins to lose his mind and starts to act maniacal. Hamlet talking to his mother, Gertrude in private, hears a scream, Hamlet thinking it is Claudius, reacts and accidently kills Polonius. “Oh, I am slain” (III.Iv.25). Polonius is dead due to Hamlet, an unjust act by Hamlet makes Laertes very sorrowful. Laertes does not know what to do with himself because he feels that there is little to no action being done about this homicide. Laertes believes he needs to take action into his own hands in order to get the justice he deserves. Not only is Polonius suffering because of Hamlet but so is Ophelia. After Polonius’s death Ophelia starts to lose her mind, she starts singing metaphors about her father, she then is found dead, due to drowning and mostly everybody believes it is a suicide. “Alas, then she is drowned.’ ‘Drowned, drowned” (Iv.Viii.180-181). The death of the person Laertes loved the most brought him many different feelings, he mourned the death of Ophelia but also wanted someone to be punished because of the circumstances. Ophelia’s death mad Laertes want to duel Hamlet, but Claudius pushed Laertes’s emotion of anger. Claudius knew Laertes wanted justice but he tricked Laertes into making him want revenge and in this Claudius put poison on Laertes’s blade. “So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,/ Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,/ Collected from all simples that have virtue/ Under the moon, can save the thing from death” (Iv.Vii.139-143). Revenge takes over Laertes and for him to get his justice to get his justice he wants revenge. Laertes now wants to be the main reason for Hamlets death. Laertes has lost the only blood related in his family and the two most loved due to the hands of Hamlet. Thus, due to Hamlets unjust actions Laertes deserves the greatest measure of justice.

Laertes tries to reach for his justice by any means necessary. Before Ophelia’s death Hamlet was going mad, Laertes did not want Ophelia to engage any acts with Hamlet. “If with too/ credent ear you list his songs, / Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open/ To his unmastered importunity. /Fear it, Ophelia. Fear it, my dear sister /And keep you in the rear of your affection” (I.III.30-34). Laertes warns Ophelia that Hamlet is in royalty and does not have a choice of who he gets merry. He warns her that Hamlet might break her heart, because their love can never truly be put together. Laertes achieves justice by keeping his sister Ophelia from getting heart broken. After Ophelia’s death, Laertes try’s to seek justice, he is put in a fencing match with Hamlet, he is tempted by Claudius to kill Hamlet in order to get the ultimate form of justice. “My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young Osric,/ who brings back to him that you attend him in the hall./ He sends to know if your pleasure hold to play with / Laertes, or that you will take longer time.” (V.II.182-186). Claudius sent a messenger to Hamlet, telling him that he has a fencing match scheduled against Laertes. Laertes wants to redeem his father’s name and he feels the only way to do this is to murder Hamlet. Laertes in the fencing match strikes Hamlet with the poisonous sword and hurt him badly. Laertes Finally feels he truly reaches his justice. A soon as Laertes stabs Hamlet he drops his sword and accidently picks up Hamlets, and Hamlet picks up Laertes’s sword. Hamlet strikes Laertes with the venomous sword. Laertes realizing what happened, rats out Claudius. “I can no more. The king, the king’s to blame” (V.II.316). Once Laertes gets stabbed, he realized that he made a mistake stabbing Hamlet and quickly fixes his mistake. He tells Hamlet what has happened, in order to regulate for the injustice Claudius made toward him, which in result has gotten him poisoned.

After justice is taken, there must be an affect that it has. The result of Laertes’s redemption in order to get justice ended up poisoning Hamlet and killing him. Laertes regrets his decision in the end. “Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet” (V.II.324). Laertes poisons Hamlet in order to gain justice for what Hamlet has done to his family, but he realizes he only did it out of vengeance. Laertes is truly sorry to Hamlet and realizes he could have found justice in other means. After telling Hamlet about what Claudius had done, Hamlet stabs Claudius with the venom infested sword and makes Claudius drink a cup of wine which also has poison in it. “He is justly served. / It is a poison tempered by himself.” (V.II.322-323). Once Claudius is poisoned Laertes realizes the true person that should have been undergoing justice, and the person who is the main reason for his losses. He is happy with this act, and feels that it is a just act. Laertes also feels that Claudius got exactly as he deserved. Laertes is also poisoned and bound to die, but his feelings regarding his death are, that he deserves it. “The foul practice/ Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie,/ Never to rise again.” (V.II313-315). Laertes dies by his own sword, due to his mistake of picking up the wrong sword. This causes Laertes to realize he deserves what he had done. Justice is also served to Laertes himself because he acted in hate and is responsible for murdering a human, through the temptation of Claudius.

The importance of Laertes, a minor character in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, his ability to bring out the theme of justice, this ability came from the loved ones that he has lost. The immoral situation that Laertes is in brings out his sadness and makes him feel there is an injustice when his father is murdered and his sister committed suicide. Laertes feels the system has failed him and decides to get justice on his own, he poisons Hamlet, and lets the kingdom know about Claudius’s true intentions. Thus resulting in Hamlet getting killed, Claudius also getting killed, and Laertes dying, in peace as a tragic hero, knowing that he has gotten his own justice. Sometimes justice needs to be taken into someone’s hands, for the outcome to be right.

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