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Word Count: 2,071
Oftentimes the minor characters in a play can be vital and among other things function to further the action of the play or to reveal and illuminate the personalities of other characters To help the reader understand a character with greater depth writers sometimes use a literary device called a foil A foil is a character that contrasts strongly with another In Shakespeares great tragedy Hamlet Laertes Fortinbras and Hamlet find themselves in similar situations While Hamlet waits for the right time to avenge his fathers death Laertes learns of his fathers death and immediately wants vengeance and Fortinbras awaits his chance to recapture land that used to belong to his father Although Laertes and Fortinbras are minor characters Shakespeare molds them in order to contrast with Hamlet Foils in Hamlet Fortinbras and to a greater extent Laertes act as foils to Hamlet with respect to their motives for revenge execution of their plans and behavior while carrying out their plans Fortinbras who schemes to rebuild his fathers kingdom leads thousands of men into battle attempting to capture a small and worthless piece of Poland after his uncle warned him against attacking Denmark The added land will do little to benefit Norways prosperity but this campaign may cost two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats IViv26 This shows that pride is a driving factor behind Fortinbras plan Wilson 34 because he is willing to put the lives of his compatriots at risk for a minimal gain Laertes on the other hand is compelled to seek revenge because he loses his father and eventually his sister The root of Laertes revenge appears to be the love for his family Prosser 52 because he proclaims that he will be revenged Most throughly for his father IVv153-154 This shows that Laertes will either avenge his fathers death or die trying While Fortinbras and Laertes are driven by pride and love Hamlet seems to act out of desperation
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