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Laertes

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Portrait of Laertes
Laertes
Race Human
Gender Male
Location Globe Theatre (Denmark)

Description

Laertes is the son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. He plays his part in Hamlet.

Story of Hamlet

Act 1 Scene 2

Laertes is introduced in this scene. He does not say anything at this point.

Act 1 Scene 3

Laertes leaves for France. However, before doing so, he warns his sister Ophelia that Hamlet cannot be trusted.

A violet in the youth of primy nature, forward, not permanent,

Sweet, not lasting, the perfume and suppliance,

Of a minute. No more.

Act 4 Scene 2

Laertes, who has heard the word of his father's death, marches back to Denmark with an angry mob. Laertes declares damnation against Claudius for vengeance, and kills all the guards that stand in his way.

When he angrily enters the castle, Claudius tells him that Polonius was killed by Hamlet. Laertes, in fury, swears vengeance against the one who killed his father. Claudius devises a plan to achieve Laertes's goal.

Gertrude, in tears, shortly announces that Ophelia has drowned, putting Laertes in misery and tears.

Conscience and grace,

To the profoundest pit! I dare damnation!
Let come what comes;

Only I'll be revenged most thoroughly for my father.

Act 4 Scene 3

When Laertes, Claudius, and Gertrude head over to Ophelia's grave, Hamlet rushes in. Laertes threatens to kill him, but Gertrude requests to spare him. After Hamlet speaks of how he loved Ophelia, Laertes falls on his knees and mourns his sister.

Act 5 Scene 1

Osric tells Hamlet that Laertes requests a sparring match between the two.

Act 5 Scene 2

Laertes and Hamlet are locked in a sparring match, while Laertes is using a poisoned blade as an intent to kill Hamlet. Laertes trips Hamlet, causing him to drop his blade. Laertes manages to strike Hamlet's cheek before he kicks and grabs Laertes's blade. Claudius stops the battle, offering Hamlet wine for health (which is actually poisoned). Hamlet refuses, saying he wants to finish the match. As the sparring match continues, Hamlet strikes a fatal blow on Laertes, as Gertrude falls from poisoned wine.

Laertes, in his last dying breath, tells Hamlet that the blade he used was poisoned and the king is to blame.

It is here Hamlet, thou art slain.

No medicine in the world can do thee good.
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenomed.
The foul practice hath turned itself on me.
Thy mother's poisoned. I can no more.

The king, the king's to blame.

Trivia

  • In The Tragedy of Hamlet folio for Act 4 Scene 2, it is written from the original version although Laertes says it differently in the Mabinogi version. The contents from the folio are of:

Conscience and grace,

To the profoundest pit! I dare damnation!
I will avenge my father's blood,
Even if that means destroying every last bit of my bones.

Where is the king?