It is this attempt to find a balance in a changing code that eventually leads, in part, to Hamlet's tragic death. On the other end of the scale stands Claudius, a man who is seemingly without honor but who is capable of manipulating the honor code in th e most heinous ways. Honor is usually seen as the proper thing to do, but sometimes this view can get skewed because people use honor for the wrong reasons. By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight, Till our scale turn the beam. Conscience and grace to the profoundest pit! Moreover, analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet, and in particular its characters' use of promise, provides new and revealing insights into evolving Renaissance codes of honor. Because of their respective positions… Laertes and Fortinbras as Foils for Hamlet Hamlet, the major character in the Shakespeare play of the same name, was faced with a decision upon learning that Claudius murdered his father.
Although Fortinbras wants to take action that does not mean he is able to accomplish the task. In Hamlet, Horatio represents the chivalric, medieval concept of honor. You may wear your rue with a difference. This is a stark contrast to Hamlet, and how he acts alone. Once Laertes discovered his father was murdered, Laertes immediately assumes that the slayer is Claudius. It provides a catalyst for action, an insight into character, and an augmentation of the impact of many key scenes.
She turns to favour and to prettiness. As a result, because of this difference between Fortinbras and Hamlet, we learn that Hamlet can be overcritical. In fact, a close examination of the concepts of promise and honor in Hamlet reveals that the major characters in this play represent different stages in the evolution of a changing code of honor. But, his swearing of revenge in a soliloquy -- a dramatic element that uniquely combines both the public and the private -- does not necessarily imply that his honor is not at stake, because the Renaissance concept of honor was evolving into a more internal code; Hamlet's honor has become as much a matter of his own conscience as of public recognition. One of these foils is the character of Laertes. I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery. However, an exam ination of the way honor was written about in other texts of the period allows for some general conclusions regarding the evolution of the honor code and Shakespeare's role in representing and defining that code.
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard; Cries cuckold to my father; brands the harlot Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow Of my true mother. All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine. Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person: There's such divinity doth hedge a king, That treason can but peep to what it would, Acts little of his will. In contrast to Laertes' Laertes voices his concern of Hamlet's true intentions towards Ophelia and advises her to be wary of Hamlet's love. In the play Hamlet, we are able to see the actions that Ophelia and Laertes take once they experience a murder similar to Hamlet 's. Laertes and Hamlet both display spontaneous reactions when angered. Terrifying thoughts, even carefully planned acts of revenge will plow themselves into your brain.
It is a poison temper'd by himself. Laertes and Hamlet both share a common goal, revenge for the murder of their father. Vows to the blackest devil! Do Claudius and Hamlet have more in common than they'd want to admit? One of the most complex changes in the code of honor was a move from an external code to an internalized concept of what it is to be an honorable man. In The Oxford Shakespeare, eds. Where Hamlet at least had Horatio as a friend, Ophelia has no one, not even Laertes her brother. Also I will look at Hamlets madness, whether it was real or not and also whether women could be the cause of it. My will, not all the world's: i.
Horatio, Laertes, and Hamlet all indicate, by their use of promise, different concepts of honor that range from an antique system of kinship and violence to a more modern idea of Christian morality, virtue, and allegiance to the state. According to Slights, the prevalence of this branch of theology was an attempt to aid contemporaries in reconciling religious faith with the demands of particular human situations that may create a crisis of the individual conscience. In the play Hamlet, both characters seem to amplify their need to be impulsive when mad. In his introduction to Hamlet in The Norton Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt offers various other reasons for Claudius's reaction to The Mousetrap. I'll not be juggled with: To hell, allegiance! That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe: i. Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit! In other words, there exists in this period a conflict of conscience between obedience to God and to the state which often required violent military action, and adherence to an honor code that demanded Christian patience, long-suffering, and non-violent resolutions to conflict.
O heat, dry up my brains! In Fortinbras and Laertes, Shakespeare deliberately shows us other young men in similar positions to Hamlet, so that we can compare their reactions. His oath, known to the audience but not to the other characters, exemplifies Shakespeare's entrance into the discourse of honor precisely because it allows the audience to discern Hamlet's crisis of conscience while simultaneously publicly committing the prince to revenge; since the audience hears the promise they may expect Hamle t, a nobleman, to keep his word. For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly, In hugger-mugger to inter him: poor Ophelia Divided from herself and her fair judgment, Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts; Last, and as much containing as all these, Her brother is in secret come from France; 89. Hamlet's soliloquy underscores the tension that exists between public and private honor. He contemplates that if this actor can be so emotional over something that did not really happen, how is it that hamlet is not on the floor weeping and avenging his father at this moment.
It is the essence of honor, manifest in promise, that Shakespeare questions when he creates the characters in Hamlet. As a result of Laertes' speculation, he instinctively moves to avenge Polonius' death. To this point I stand That both the worlds I give to negligence. To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms; And like the kind life-rendering pelican, Repast them with my blood. He is the broach indeed And gem of all the nation.
More on poison: Poison, as we have been made aware of throughout the play, is associated in its imagery with serpents and the most devious evil. Once Laertes discovers his father has been murdered, he immediately assumes the slayer is Claudius. Religion and the Decline of Magic. This elucidation of casual and careful swearing, in turn, underscores the metamorphosis in the honor code since it demonstrates the change in the use of the word. Works Cited and Consulted: Bloom, Harold. If by direct or by collateral hand They find us touched, we will our kingdom give, Our crown, our life, and all that we can ours, To you in satisfaction.
Good Laertes, If you desire to know the certainty Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge That, sweepstake, you will draw both friend and foe, Winner and loser? Her speech: What she says. My interpretation of that scene in the text was different to the one given in the… 1284 Words 6 Pages The Character of Laertes in Hamlet Though seeming to simply be a minor character, Laertes is of great importance in the play, Hamlet, and much more than one would initially believe, due to his extensive inner conflict. That is not to say that there did not exist a residual chivalric sense of honor which emphasized the importance of blood and lineage as well as martial prowess. Her death is debated as being a suicide, and only someone who was weak and mad would turn to that solution. My brother shall know of it: and so I thank you for your good counsel.