And a million academic dudes cream their pants for this straight up counterpoint between Laertes and Hamlet. It feels like 99% of Hamlet analysis lives in this territory. Hamlet is a coward; Laertes isn’t. Hamlet hesitates. Laertes doesn’t. Hamlet fails to get revenge; Laertes tries more. And then you see how faulty this is. Laertes, yes, kills Hamlet, who killed his father. Which, I guess, in the revenge scales is right on point.
But Hamlet kills Claudius in the same scene. Effectively doing the same thing.
Laertes is no paragon. And yet so much of the academic literature of this play LOVES to compare how much more effective Laertes is at this revenge thing.
But he’s not any more effective than Hamlet.
He’s more emotional certainly. More impulsive, for sure. He starts shouting and creating a coup immediately.
But he ends up just as dead as Hamlet.
So there’s not, like, a better strategy for revenge.
MAYBE the whole notion of revenge is faulty.
MAYBE anyone who pursues revenge ends up getting his own sword turned on him.