Hamlet is one of the most powerful works in world literature of all time of its existence. The system of images, masterfully built by the author, allows revealing the philosophical problems of the tragedy in the best possible way. It is important to understand that each of the images, outlined in the tragedy, is not standardized. Shakespeare includes characters in the tragedy Hamlet who are obvious foils to Hamlet, including Fortinbras, Horatio, Laertes, and Claudius.
Hamlet finds Horatio as his best friend just because he sees in him a real person, not touched by the universal moral damage and who has not become a slave of the passions. He is moderate and calm young man, for which Hamlet praises him. But Horatio is only an observer; life has not put in front of him any tasks requiring mental stress of all forces, as it is the case with Hamlet. There is a huge difference between these two characters – the heir to the throne and a simple student. In fact, the relationship between them could only be the relationship between a master and a servant. And Horatio humbly accepts this position.
The image of Claudius captures the bloody usurper monarch, hated by humanitarians. Keeping the mask of a respectable person, a caring ruler, a gentle husband, this rascal doesn’t bind himself with any moral norms: he violates the oath, seduces the queen, kills his brother, and contrives deceitful plans against the legitimate heir. He revives old feudal customs, condones spying and denunciations. Claudius shrewd and cautious: he cleverly prevents Fortinbras campaign against Denmark, extinguishes the anger of Laertes, turning it into an instrument of violence with Hamlet, and gives the appearance of collegiality in government.
Fortinbras, of course, is much higher than the villain of Claudius, but he still cannot understand all that is understood by Hamlet. Fortinbras does not know well, for what and against which Hamlet fought, but he understands what the hero has earned so the people keep the memory of him as a fighter who died in the difficult struggle.
Laertes is straightforward, energetic, bold, and dearly loves his sister. When hearing about his father’s death, Laertes is ready to execute the one who is guilty, whether it is the king, whom he gave the oath of allegiance. The main thing for him was revenge. The viewer understands the state of son Laertes, but only until the moment he enters into an agreement with Claudius. The audience rejects Laertes when he enters the contest with the prince with a poisoned weapon: Laertes neglected the knightly honor.
Hamlet is one of the most powerful works in world literature of all time of its existence. The system of images, masterfully built by the author, allows revealing the philosophical problems of the tragedy in the best possible way. It is important to understand that each of the images, outlined in the tragedy, is not standardized.