Although Hamlet does manage to get across to Claudius his dislike, he conveys this through subtle insults that have ambiguous meanings. Earlier on in the play, in Act 1, Scene 2 Hamlet does manage to get across to Claudius his dislike. He conveys this through subtle insults that have ambiguous meanings. Earlier on in the play, in Act 1, Scene 2 Hamlet says that he is ”too much in the sun” in response to Claudius’ remark that the clouds still hang on him.
By saying this, he is inferring that he is too much of a Son, and that he does not like being a son of Claudius. Another example of Hamlet’s indirect indifference is when he ignores Claudius’ plea for him to ”remain here in the cheer and comfort of our eye” yet when his mother asks him to stay he agrees. Hamlet’s manner is very discrete and although he strongly disagrees with his Uncle’s and Mother’s actions, he keeps him temper under control and waits for moments when just a simple statement makes others aware of his feeling.
This is contrary to Laertes tactics as seen earlier. He does not feel the need to wait and consider his position, he would it seems, prefer to confront the object of his anger straightaway. There is a further important contrast between Hamlet and Laertes, each of whom has a powerful drive to avenge their dead father. Hamlet is reflective and has difficulty acting, whereas Laertes is active and has no need for thought he has no interest in moral concerns, only in his consuming desire to avenge Polonius.
When asked how far he would go to take revenge for his father, Laertes replies that he would slit Hamlet’s throat in church. He consigns conscience to the “profoundest pit” of hell and says “I dare damnation”. These statements indicate his willingness to murder Hamlet even in the house of morality and piety, and identify the sharp contrast between the two sons. Hamlet will not even kill himself for fear of crossing God. Hamlet spared the king at prayer; he knew the “dread of something after death” From what we see of Laertes, he is a revenger, unhesitant and violent.
Hamlet’s nature however, is reflective and contemplative and this often renders it impossible for him to act on his convictions. When the ghost first asked him to take revenge for his murder, Hamlet immediately vowed to do so ”with wings as swift, as meditation or the thoughts of love”. He is quick to see his inadequacies as a revenger like Laertes, when on his second meeting with the ghost. He has not swept, has not been swift, and has, it would appear, done nothing. It is clear that he is reluctant to take revenge, despite his strong feelings against Claudius.
He wants to, yet appears unable to do so. He is on the edge of despair and asks himself why he, who has so many reasons to kill Claudius, cannot stir himself to action to carry out the necessary act of vengeance. He admires others for their prompt actions especially Fortinbras, for example, who fought Poland for a little piece of land ”that hath in it no profit but the name”. Hamlet says of himself in face of this; ”what good is a man if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed?
” When Hamlet compares himself to Fortinbras, all he feels he does is sleep and feed, and as this quite shows, he thinks very little of himself for doing this. For Hamlet nothing is simple, everything raises questions. Yet, Laertes is like Fortinbras in two ways. He is reckless, has neither awe nor scruple, and is careless of the realm. This is evident when he stormed into the palace demanding vengeance on Claudius. If he had killed him, then he would have left Denmark without a king and at the risk of foreign usurpation. This, of course, happened when Fortinbras took advantage of the situation later on in the play.
He is also similar because, both he and Fortinbras gather an army, which consisted of the ”rabble” and of ”lawless resolutes”. In conclusion to this essay, it can be quite safely said that Hamlet and Laertes are different in many ways. Their relationships with their fathers; whilst Laertes’ appears idyllic, Hamlet’s is shown to be terribly damaged and probably irreparable. Laertes is neither to be consoled nor to be appeased until he reaches his aim of slaying Hamlet. His grief quickly converted to anger. Hamlet’s grief rendered him dull and slothful.
He does act impetuously when he is consumed with passion; however, he has been brutal with Ophelia, cruel with his mother and has killed Polonius under the strain of passion. Laertes too, acts under the duress of passion and not from reason. Even in his killing of Hamlet, he acted against his own conscience. He had promised revenge under the influence of violent anger, which was moved by grief to hate and by hate to revenge. In the end both wronged sons met their deaths because Hamlet is too magnanimous to ”peruse the foils” and Laertes mean enough to take advantage of it.