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Abby Broadhurst

AP Literature

Hamlet: Analysis of Laertes

General Info:
-a young Danish lord
-son of Polonius
-brother of Ophelia
-attends college in France (after obtaining leave from Claudius)
-loyal, “To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms and, like the kind life-rend’ring pelican, repast
them with my blood” (4.5.167-169)
-traditionalist, “His means of death, his obscure funeral (no trophy, no sword, nor hatchment o’er his
bones, no noble rite nor formal ostentation) cry to be heard, as ‘twere from heaven to earth, that I must
call ‘t in question” (4.5.238-242)
-impulsive in his desperation

-acts as a foil to Hamlet (whereas Hamlet tends towards inactivity, Laertes is much more impulsive and is
prone to immediate action)
immediately returns home from France
gains followers who spread rumors of Polonius’ death and call for Laertes as king
he and a group of armed men storm the castle, “the doors are broke” (4.5.121)
initially assumes that Claudius is to blame for Polonius’ death and does not ask questions until
after he has entered the castle
-heartbroken at the sight of his sister gone mad
-Claudius manages to console and calm Laertes by insuring that he has the opportunity to have revenge
-Laertes is willing to listen to Claudius’ counsel once he believes that Claudius himself was not involved
in Polonius’ death
-becomes riled up again after learning that Ophelia has drowned

Important Quotes:
-“that drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me bastard” (4.5.130-131)
-“To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!...To this point I stand, that both the worlds I give to
negligence, let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged most throughly for my father” (4.5.149-154)
-“Hadst thou thy wits and didst persuade revenge, it could not move thus” (4.5.192-193)
-“A sister driven into desp’rate terms, whose worth, if praises may go back again, stood challenger on
mount of all the age for her imperfections” (4.7.28-31)
-“Ay, my lord, so you will not o’errule me to a peace” (4.7.67-68)
-“My lord, I will be ruled, the rather if you could devise it so that I might be the organ” (4.7.77-79)