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Which Statement Best Describes Laertes’s Development Between Act 1 and Act 4?

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Son of Polonius, brother of Ophelia, in Act I, Laertes is a dutiful character. In Act IV, he disregards all the rules and does not care whether his behavior is correct. Laertes is a young man who has neither logical thinking and a cold mind nor patience.

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From the start, Laertes loyally serves King Claudius. He carries out all his espionage assignments and participates in palace intrigues. In the final duel, Hamlet dies of his sword, poisoned by Claudius.

The first acquaintance with the character takes place in the Elsinore castle’s reception hall. One of the courtiers describes him as a real gentleman, charming in appeal and a beautiful appearance. Laertes inherited a moral tendency from his father.

On the other hand, weighed down by home care, he wants to leave Elsinore. Therefore, it is hard to believe that he is very attached to his father. Ophelia notes that her brother does not always correlate actions with his informative speeches. Laertes is more of a “careless and empty reveler.” He is straightforward, energetic, courageous in his way. He dearly loves his sister and wishes her well and happiness.

Upon hearing of father’s death, Laertes is ready to execute the guilty, be it the king himself, to whom he took the oath of allegiance. He is not interested in the circumstances under which his father died. Laertes does not care whether he was right or wrong. He is entirely devoid of reflections. He looks impatient. He does not want to wait and seeks to administer justice following the rules of equal retaliation. Laertes didn’t think to understand the reasons for the death of his father. If he did, he would be forced to admit that Polonius himself called death, actively supporting the king’s intrigues against Hamlet. The blind power of this custom also lived in Laertes.

The main aim for him is revenge. The viewer understands the state of Polonius’ son until he conspires with the king. It is hard to accept Laertes when he enters into a contest with the prince, having poisoned weapons. He neglected knightly honor, dignity, and generosity. After all, before the battle, Hamlet explained everything to him. Only the proximity of his death, the knowledge that he was a victim of Claudius’s betrayal, makes Laertes tell the truth.

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IvyPanda. "Which Statement Best Describes Laertes’s Development Between Act 1 and Act 4?" November 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/which-statement-best-describes-laertess-development-between-act-1-and-act-4/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Which Statement Best Describes Laertes’s Development Between Act 1 and Act 4?" November 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/which-statement-best-describes-laertess-development-between-act-1-and-act-4/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Which Statement Best Describes Laertes’s Development Between Act 1 and Act 4'. 25 November.

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