As you know, Laertes and Fortinbras are two characters in Shakespeare’s play that serve as foils for Hamlet. How does each figure expose or highlight certain traits in Hamlet’s character, and how does each character’s behavior in the play relate to the themes of advice and duty, action versus inaction, and sanity versus madness?
To clearly understand Hamlet’s character, credence must be given to Foil as a classical trope. A foil is a minor character that helps the audience better understand a major character. A foil may exist as a comparison character, with similarities between the two, as well as differences that bring to light an important contrast between the foil and the main character. A foil may also just be someone for the main character to talk to, so we can know and understand their thoughts and feelings. Foils help us understand the obvious as well as the arcane. In the classic tragedy Hamlet, we see William Shakespeare employ foils to illustrate both examples. They become important literary tools that help the reader rationalize the concurrent theme of the play. The focus of this paper will be on Laertes and Fortinbras and how each have helped in bringing g into light the traits of Hamlet and how each of them have corresponded to the theme of duty and advice.