Laertes (Hamlet)

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Laertes (Hamlet)_table_infobox_0

LaertesLaertes (Hamlet)_header_cell_0_0_0
Created byLaertes (Hamlet)_header_cell_0_1_0 William ShakespeareLaertes (Hamlet)_cell_0_1_1
In-universe informationLaertes (Hamlet)_header_cell_0_2_0
FamilyLaertes (Hamlet)_header_cell_0_3_0 Polonius (father)

Ophelia (sister)Laertes (Hamlet)_cell_0_3_1

Laertes /leɪˈɜːrtiːz/ is a character in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_0

Laertes is the son of Polonius and the brother of Ophelia. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_1

In the final scene, he mortally wounds Hamlet with a poisoned sword to avenge the deaths of his father and sister, for which he blamed Hamlet. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_2

While dying of the same poison, he implicates King Claudius. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_3

The Laertes character is thought to be originated by Shakespeare, as there is no equivalent character in any of the known sources for the play. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_4

His name is taken from Laërtes, father of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_5

Role in the play Laertes (Hamlet)_section_0

In the first act, Laertes is seen warning Ophelia against Hamlet's romantic pursuit of her, saying Hamlet will soon lose his desire for her, and that it is not Hamlet's own choice but the king's as to whom he will marry. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_6

Before Laertes returns to France from Denmark, returning to Denmark only to attend the coronation of King Claudius, his father, Polonius, gives him advice to behave himself in France. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_7

During Laertes's absence, Hamlet kills Polonius in Gertrude's parlour. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_8

Laertes, informed of his father's death, returns to Denmark, and leads a mob to storm and take the castle. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_9

Laertes confronts the King, thinking he was responsible for Polonius' death. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_10

The King explains to him who the real killer was, and incites Laertes to kill Hamlet and avenge Polonius' death. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_11

When Ophelia appears in her mad condition, Laertes laments, saying that if she had her wits she could not persuade him more to revenge. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_12

Later, Laertes is informed of her death. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_13

She had climbed into a willow tree that hung over a brook, and then fell into the water when a branch broke. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_14

Too insane to save herself, she drowned. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_15

His sister's death strengthens Laertes's resolve to kill Hamlet. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_16

At her funeral, Laertes asks why the normal Christian burial ceremony is not being carried out for his sister, and rebukes the priest for questioning her innocence. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_17

He leaps into her grave and begs the attendants to bury him with her. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_18

Hamlet, who was previously watching from afar, advances and himself leaps into Ophelia's grave. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_19

When Laertes attacks Hamlet, the two have to be held back to avoid a fight. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_20

In the next scene, King Claudius arranges a fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_21

Laertes uses his sharp, poisoned sword instead of a bated (dull) sword. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_22

The King provides a poisoned drink as a backup measure. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_23

Before the match begins, Hamlet apologises publicly to Laertes for the wrongs he has dealt him. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_24

Laertes accepts the apology, so he says, but he proceeds with the scheme to kill Hamlet (though after Gertrude drinks the poisoned drink, he expresses having an attack of conscience). Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_25

Hamlet is eventually wounded with the poisoned sword. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_26

Then, in a scuffle, the swords are switched. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_27

Hamlet wounds Laertes with his own poisoned blade, and Laertes then falls as well. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_28

Only then does he truly seem to feel guilty, for he tells Osric he has been "justly killed" with his own treachery. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_29

As he lies dying, Laertes confesses the truth and reveals that it was Claudius's plot, resulting in the death of Claudius by Hamlet's hands. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_30

Laertes asks Hamlet for forgiveness, absolving him of his and his father's deaths if Hamlet absolves him of his own. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_31

Hamlet does, dying shortly after Laertes does. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_32

Other characters' views of Laertes vary widely. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_33

Polonius feels a need to send a servant to France to spy on his son's behaviour. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_34

Ophelia tells him not to be a hypocrite (in telling her to behave herself with Hamlet, but then being immoral himself in France). Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_35

Hamlet is at first puzzled by Laertes's hatred for him, but later admits that he sees his own cause displayed in Laertes's actions. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_36

Portrayal Laertes (Hamlet)_section_1

Laertes is often portrayed by seemingly humble actors of the screen, to give a loyal, wholesome appeal to the character. Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_37

He has been played by Terence Morgan (1948), John Cullum (1964), Nicholas Jones (1970), Nathaniel Parker (1990), Hugh Bonneville (1992 RSC Production), Michael Maloney (1996), Liev Schreiber (2000), Edward Bennett (2009 RSC) and Tom Felton (2018). Laertes (Hamlet)_sentence_38

See also Laertes (Hamlet)_section_2

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: (Hamlet).