The term “passionate” is the best fit for Laertes. He learns of his father’s death in act IV, and he decides to return to Denmark. He organizes a mob and takes the castle, opposing Claudius. The king lies to him and persuades him to seek revenge on Hamlet for his father’s death. His devotion reflects his passionate nature as someone who follows his heart.
In Act IV, Laertes is informed of his father’s death and decides to go back to Denmark. He gathers a mob and takes the castle before confronting Claudius. Laertes is convinced by the King that it was Hamlet who murdered Polonius, and he vows vengeance for his murder. His desire to kill Hamlet grows stronger when he learns about Ophelia’s madness and subsequent demise. Throughout the act, Laertes is extremely passionate about his wish to kill Hamlet.
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Laertes, the son of Polonius and Ophelia, is a young Danish noble. He is a mirror image or contrasts to Hamlet, acting in the exact opposite manner. What exactly is he like?
Laertes was initially a kind and dutiful son and brother. His generosity and loyalty set him apart as the greatest good in the play. Despite his relatively minor role in the tragedy, we can observe his psychological crisis develop.
In Act IV, his part in the plot is crucial. The courtiers hear Laertes and the crowd attempting to breach the castle (scene 5). He tells his followers to remain at the entrance and pleads with Claudius for his father (scene 5).
“…O thou vile king,
Give me my father!”
His subsequent speech reflects his courage and passion for his intentions:
“…That drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me bastard,
Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
Even here between the chaste unsmirched brow
Of my true mother.”
These lines show how distraught and emotional Laertes is over the events. Claudius manages to quieten him until Ophelia returns, but he regains his composure once she does. Laertes, enraged by his sister’s condition, pays close attention to what Claudius has to say. By scene 7, he has been convinced of Hamlet’s guilt and is prepared to avenge himself. Laertes’ grief becomes too much for him to bear, so he bursts out in a fury:
“Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears; but yet
It is our trick, Nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will; when these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord,
I have a speech a’ fire that fain would blaze,
But that this folly drowns it.”
The term “Rage” is used to describe Laertes, who is filled with rage. This explains why we can refer to him in this manner.