Friday, July 19, 2019

The Character of Laertes in Hamlet Essay -- GCSE English Literature Cou

The Character of Laertes in Hamlet In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the character of Laertes is introduced as the son of Polonius. Â  Laertes is immediately established as a favorite with the King. Clouds refers to the young man five times by name and immediately grants him permission to return to his studies in Paris, if he has his father's permission. Thus we are prepared for their later treacherous alliance. In this scene too Laertes' relationship with his father is visually established by both appearing on stage together, although they do not address each other. A contrast is also established in this scene between Laertes and Prince Hamlet. One enjoys the King's favor and is readily given permission to resume his studies in Paris; the other does not and is not allowed to resume his studies in Wittenberg. This situational contrast will later be developed into a moral one. On his second, and final, appearance before he departs, Laertes offers his sister Ophelia moral advice about her relationship with Hamlet. He speaks cynically about the 'trifling of his favor', something that will not last 'A violet in the youth of primy nature, Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, The perfume and suppliance of a minute, No more.' He also suggests that even if Hamlet does really love her, as heir to the throne of Denmark he is not free to choose his own wife. Finally he warns her not to surrender her virginity to his 'unmaster'd importunity'. Laertes' concern here seems to be not with his sister's feelings but with her honour (reputation) and by implication, that of the family. Ophelia's spirited response 'But good my brother, Do not as some ungracious pastors do, Show me the steep and thorny way to heave... ...mode, Frank. "Hamlet." The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974. Mack, Maynard. "The World of Hamlet." Yale Review. vol. 41 (1952) p. 502-23. Rpt. in Shakespeare: Modern Essays in Criticism. Rev. ed. Ed. Leonard F. Dean. New York: Oxford University P., 1967. Rosenberg, Marvin. "Laertes: An Impulsive but Earnest Young Aristocrat." Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Masks of Hamlet. Newark, NJ: Univ. of Delaware P., 1992. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. Ward & Trent, et al. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907-21; New York:, 2000

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