Shakespearean Character Study


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Shakespearean Character Study

  2. 2. LAERTES Laertes is a character in the Shakesperian play Hamlet. He is theson of Polonius and brother of Opheila. He is an antagonistcharacter in the play because he causes conflict. This play is a tragedybecause of all the conflict and deaths. ‘Hamlet’ is set in the 16thcentury in Denmark.
  3. 3. Synopsis:Not long after Laertes returns to France he finds out about his fathers deathand returns to Denmark as soon as possible to solve the murder and getrevenge. At first Laertes suspects King Claudius has killed his father but afterconfronting the King he finds out it was actually Hamlet. Soon after this hehears that his sister Ophelia has drowned because she was driven mad, justas Laertes had feared. Laertes gets revenge on Hamlet by poisoning hissword and slashing him in a fencing match that ends up killing both himselfand Hamlet.
  4. 4. CONFLICT IN THE PLAY ‘HAMLET’ Person vs Person – Laertes has confliction on Hamlet for driving hissister Ophelia mad to the point of suicide and for the murdering of hisfather Polonius. Person vs self – Laertes has an extensive inner conflict of loyalty,honour and becoming a good man, understanding what Polonius hastold him. He deals with conflict very prompt and direct, ‗as soon as hehears about his fathers death, he acts as soon as he can to go getrevenge.
  5. 5. MAIN CONFLICT The main source of conflict driving the play is the conflictbetween Hamlet and Laertes and the revenge the bothwant on certain people. The more hungry Laertes got forrevenge his inner conflict of honour, love and loyalty wastaken over by vengeance. The deaths of Polonius andOphelia is the driving force behind Laertes and KingClaudiuss plot in killing hamlet.
  6. 6. STRUCTURE OF PLOT Introduction: We are introduced to Laertes when he firstcomes into the play asking King Claudius if he can leave toFrance, so he can escape the questionable circumstances ofhis marriage and subsequent ascension to the throne. Exciting force: Hamlet kills Polonius so Laertes returns toDenmark to seek revenge.
  7. 7.  Rising action: Laertes just suspected that King Claudius KilledPolonius but finds out that it was actually Hamlet and this changesthe way he feels about revenge. Turning point: Ophelia drowns because she was driven mad,Laertes blames Hamlet for this which makes Laertes even hungrierfor revenge on Hamlet. Falling action: To this certain decisive point Laertes has followedhis love, honour and loyalty but now the scales have tipped offbalance and now he turns to take the other end of the spectrum.
  8. 8.  Resolution: King Claudius and Laertes plan way to kill hamlet and getrevenge. The out come is a fencing match between Hamlet and Laerteswhich results in Hamlets death as Laertes had poison on his sword thatjust sliced Hamlets flesh. Untangling: Laertes honour finally takes control as he admits his guiltbut it is too late as he lost the match to Hamlet because he slashed himthree times with his own poisoned sword. Comic relief: The Graveyard scene provides dramatic relief when thegravediggers are digging Ophelia‘s grave deciding weather she should beburied in a churchyard because her death was a suicide.
  9. 9. BEGINNING OF PLAY In the beginning of the play Laertes is simply seen as a minercharacter. In the first lines that Laertes speaks in the play he is asking KingClaudius for his approval to allow him to return to his duties in France.This is important from the viewpoint as it demonstrates his dislike of theKing and wish to escape from the questionable circumstances of hismarriage and subsequent accession to the throne. Before he leaves heshow‘s love for his family epically Ophelia by trying to warn her about herrelationship with hamlet and asking her to be careful, but she refuses tolisten as she is in love with Hamlet.
  10. 10. CHANGES THROUGH THE PLAY As the play goes on we find out Laertes is a great importance in theplay, so far he has followed his loyalty, love and honour to the decisivepoint where the scales are starting to tip off balance. He has tried the stoicway, of staying totally apart but has failed and now tries to take theother end of the spectrum and by acting with vengeance and revenge.This results in planning with King Claudius to get revenge on Hamlet.Laertes ends up going through with the plan to poison Hamlet in afencing match therefore driving the conflict further.
  11. 11. BY THE END By the end of the play Laertes Honour finally takescontrol of him as he realises what he has just done waswrong. He admits his guilt and tells all of the kings plot tokill hamlet even though it‘s to late as it doesn‘t do anygood. He realises and learns the hard way that killingHamlet was neither achieving or gaining anything andrevenge doesn‘t bring back the love ones lost.
  12. 12. • LAERTES QUOTES Im lost in it, my lord. But let him come;It warms the very sickness in my heart, How came he dead? Ill not be juggledThat I shall live and tell him to his teeth, with:Thus diest thou. To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest • Laertes, scene vii devil! For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favours, Conscience and grace, to the profoundestHold it a fashion and a toy in blood; pit!A violet in the youth of primy nature, I dare damnation. To this point I stand,Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, That both the worlds I give to negligence,The perfume and suppliance of a minute — Let come what comes; only Ill be revengedNo more. Most thoroughly for my father. • Laertes, scene iii (4.5.6) Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,And therefore I forbid my tears. ―Laertes: It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou • Laertes, scene vii art slain; I lovd Ophelia: forty thousand brothers No medicine in the world can do theeCould not, with all their quantity of love,Make up my sum. good. • Hamlet, scene In thee there is not half an hour of life. Lay her i the earth: The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,And from her fair and unpolluted flesh Unbated and envenomd. The foul practiceMay violets spring! Hath turnd itself on me. Lo, here I lie, • Laertes, scene i Never to rise again. Thy mothers poisond. I can no more. The King, the Kings to blame.‖
  13. 13. BIBLIOGRAPHY Websites: Books: Insight publications- Hamlet Sample essays- 2009 John Jump- Shakespeare Hamlet- 1968 Leon Garfield- Shakespeare, the animated tales of hamlet- 1992