- Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays

Traits Impact Success Versus Failure

Essay by   •  January 8, 2018  •  Essay  •  845 Words (4 Pages)  •  379 Views

Essay Preview: Traits Impact Success Versus Failure

Report this essay
Page 1 of 4

Traits Impact Success Versus Failure

William Shakespeare’s famous play Hamlet is full of literary devices, motifs, themes, etc. One of the most prominent literary devices is a foil. A foil is a character that shows contrasting characteristics of another character in order to highlight their traits. The term may also refer to the qualities that are similar or the same as another character. The comparison of the two characters’ traits helps the readers understand the qualities of the characters more in depth and see the importance of their roles in the piece of literature. In Hamlet, Hamlet has three foils. Hamlet’s foils are Horatio, Laertes, and Fortinbras.

Horatio is a foil to Hamlet because of their shared love for reason and thought, but their contrasting qualities allow their characters to be drawn closer together. Horatio is Hamlet’s closest friend and went to school with Hamlet. Hamlet relies on Horatio frequently because of his traits. Horatio is trustworthy, loyal, and levelheaded whereas Hamlet is sporadic and hesitates constantly. Horatio thinks out his decisions before he makes them, and Hamlet likes to take risks no matter the cost. An example is in Act I scene 4 when Horatio holds back Hamlet from going to the ghost. He physically tries to stop Hamlet and tries to convince him it is a bad idea, but Hamlet takes the risk and follows the ghost. Hamlet relies on Horatio to keep him balanced, which is why they’re such close friends and why they work so well together. Another difference between the two is Hamlet is quite melancholy and depressed while Horatio is a very positive person who picks Hamlet up when he’s down. Horatio helps his friend out to seek revenge. Everyone throughout the play is questioning Hamlet’s mental state and his actions because they believe he has gone mad, but no one questions Horatio’s actions even though the two are working together. Horatio and Hamlet’s characters go hand in hand because their traits are almost opposite each other while their friendship keeps them together. They are foils because they compliment each other and allow the other character to keep going.

Laertes and Hamlet are foils because they’re put in almost the exact same situation, but the two character’s traits are shown through their choices. Both of their fathers are murdered, but they react differently. They’re both very angry and want to avenge their father’s deaths, but Laertes takes his objective more seriously than Hamlet does. Hamlet took his time, double checking to make sure his father was murderer was indeed his Uncle Claudius. Hamlet prolongs his revenge plan so long that his uncle almost gets rid of him before he can avenge his father’s death. Hamlet had an opportunity to kill his uncle, but decided against it because “the time wasn’t right”. Laertes set out as soon as he learned that Hamlet had murdered his father. His anger and emotions took over, and he got together with Claudius to get rid of Hamlet. In Act IV Scene 7, he made a three-part



Download as:   txt (5 Kb)   pdf (41.2 Kb)   docx (11.6 Kb)  
Continue for 3 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2018, 01). Traits Impact Success Versus Failure. Retrieved 01, 2018, from

"Traits Impact Success Versus Failure" 01 2018. 2018. 01 2018 <>.

"Traits Impact Success Versus Failure.", 01 2018. Web. 01 2018. <>.

"Traits Impact Success Versus Failure." 01, 2018. Accessed 01, 2018.