William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet involves a rather crazy family. Hamlet’s father is murdered by his own brother Claudius. Claudius becomes king after marrying Hamlet’s mother right after the death of his brother. One night Hamlet sees an apparition of his father which tells him to kill King Claudius in revenge. Laertes is the son of Polonius, the King’s counselor. Polonius is also murdered and Laertes is out to seek vengeance of his murderer. They both learn that that revenge is a dark way to travel and it costs them their lives.
Firstly, Hamlet and Laertes similarities are very obvious. Hamlet and Laertes are both angry and want revenge for the death of their fathers. Hamlet is mad and while talking with his mother about why she remarried so fast after his father’s death, Hamlet discovers an intruder and stabs him. He then says in Act three scene four,”Nay, I know not. Is it the king? A bloody deed- almost as bad, good mother, as kill a king and marry with his brother.” He thinks that it is the King because he was so mad. Really it is only Polonius, Laertes’ father. Once Laertes discovers that his father is dead, he automatically wants to seek revenge. He then says to the King in Act four scene five, “Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged most thoroughly for my father.” Laertes is so caught up on his father’s death that he is looking for vengeance at any cost.
Second of all, the differences of Hamlet and Laertes are widely shown in their personalities. Hamlet is more of a procrastinator. His father’s ghost tells him to get revenge and kill Claudius, but Hamlet comes upon him while he is praying and decides not to kill him. He says to himself in Act three scene three, “And so he goes to heaven, and so am I revenged…A villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven.” Hamlet over thinks about what he has to do and it causes him to procrastinate. On the other hand Laertes acts quickly in anger. While talking with Claudius in Act four scene seven Laertes finds out that Hamlet is the murderer of his father. He simply says what he wants to do to Hamlet is “to cut his throat i’ th’ church.” He is furious. Claudius does nothing but make it worse. He wants Hamlet dead because he is the only one who knows the secret that he is the murderer of Hamlet Sr.
Revenge is a major theme in Hamlet. Hamlet and Laertes similarities are that they want to seek revenge for the murder of their fathers. It is rage that eventually drives them both to madness. The difference is in how they achieve their revenge. Hamlet moves slowly but surely, and Laertes moves rashly. The revenge makes them act blindly through anger and emotion. They both come to find that revenge is a dark way to travel and it costs them their lives.
In conclusion, Hamlet and Laertes have some similarities and differences. They both want revenge, but they have different personalities. They both learn that revenge is not sweet, and it costs them their lives. This teaches that we should not always seek revenge, but only forgive. This is why it is still read and discussed today.