Hamlet And His Foils Essay

1059 words - 4 pages

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, is a play about a man's revenge for his father's murder and all the tragedy that comes along with it. The play revolves mainly around Hamlet and his feelings towards the marriage of his mother, Gertrude, to Claudius, the new king, and the fact that Claudius killed Hamlet's father, King Hamlet, and Hamlet wants revenge. We see emotions and doubts Prince Hamlet has within himself after speaking with the assumed ghost of his father, King Hamlet. Shakespeare shows us these doubts and emotions through foils to Hamlet. A foil is a minor or major character that helps bring out or make stronger the feelings and thought of the major character through not only dialogue but similarities and differences. A very important foil to Hamlet is Horatio because of all that Hamlet confides in him.We meet Horatio through Hamlet. He is Hamlet's best friend and a fellow student of his whom studied with him at Wittenberg. The similarities and the differences between Hamlet and Horatio help to show us more of Hamlet's personality and feelings about the revenge of his father's death, one of the main goals of the play. Through Horatio as a foil, we see not only Hamlet's plan for revenge, but also some of his feelings of doubt and confusion with himself of actually being able to follow through with the plans he thought up. We also get to see a lot more of his personality.As a foil, and because he is a best friend to Hamlet, Horatio can be seen as a way into what Hamlet feels and does being Hamlet confesses to him and trusts him. Horatio is one of the firsts to see the ghost of King Hamlet, and he also informs Hamlet of this sighting. Knowing about and seeing the ghost is something they both have in common because not all of the characters can see the ghost. The queen, for instance, was unable to see it when talking to Hamlet in her bedroom. When reading the conversations between Hamlet and Horatio after the ghost sighting, it becomes clear how Hamlet feels about his father's murder and his plans to avenge the murder. We see how close Horatio and Hamlet seem to be and how long they have been friends with one another from the way they treat each other and how they act to each other. They both seem to see life and people in the same way and have the same opinions about people, probably a quality of their being such good friends. One example of this is when they meet, Osric, and both Hamlet and Horatio talk about how he acted towards Hamlet.Horatio is also seen as a foil, because he is, the one who Hamlet always turns to speak with and tell his thoughts to. Horatio is like a sponge to Hamlets thought and ideas. Hamlet tells Horatio some of the plans he has in order to take revenge of his father's death along with many other thoughts. This is so important because if there were no Horatio we wouldn't be knowledgeable of all of Hamlet's...

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