Essay On Foil Characters In Hamlet

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Gary Ryan Blair once said, “ Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity.” William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet is an ideal representation of prolonged inaction. Hamlet, the protagonist, drags out his plan for revenge all throughout the play. After his father, King Hamlet, dies Hamlet leaves his studies to attend the funeral at Elsinore Castle. Upon his return, he finds out that his mother is marrying Claudius, his uncle and his father’s brother. Furthermore, a ghost in the form of his dead father appears claiming that Claudius has murdered him for the throne, which also assigns Hamlet the task of avenging him. As…show more content…
In literature, a foil character is a character that demonstrates qualities that are in contrast to the qualities of another character with the purpose to highlight the traits of the other character. As Fortinbras and his army cross Hamlet’s path on their way to invade Poland Hamlet says, “ Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats/ Will not debate the question of this straw...That inward breaks and shows no cause without/ Why the man dies,” (IV.iv.26-30). Hamlet points out Fortinbras’s aggressive measure towards a pointless matter and as a model for himself to follow in avenging his father’s murder. Another character who foils Hamlet’s character is Laertes. When Laertes returns from France to find that his father was killed, he organizes a rebellion to dethrone the King, Claudius. A messenger informs the King and Queen saying, “ The ocean, overpeering of his list, / Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste/ Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,/ O’erbears your officers. The rabble call him ‘lord’... They cry ‘Choose we, Laertes shall be king!” (IV.v.109-116). Without knowing how his father died, who killed him or any other details he leads a rebellion trying to overthrow the government. While he acts on instinct without much thought Hamlet constantly ponders consequences that can arise from immediate

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