Friday, October 29, 2010


For those of you not in attendance on Friday please pay attention. A foil,  pronounced like aluminum foil, is a character who contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight various features of that other character's personality, throwing certain characteristics into sharper contrast or focus. A foil serves to stress and highlight the distinctive temperament of the protagonist. 


A foil is a secondary character who contrasts with a major character; in Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes, whose fathers have been killed, are foils for Hamlet.  As we have observed in class, Shakespeare employs Fortinbras four times in the play as a foil to Hamlet. And Laertes, a man of  precipitous action, also serves as a foil to the dilatory Hamlet on multiple planes.


  1. If Claudius was wrong to kill his brother and marry his brother’s wife (and surely he was), shouldn’t the mortal correction of these crimes feel more satisfying, more “right,” than it does in this play?

  2. I agree with kenia. Since Cladius committed a heinous crime, it feels as if it is not only just, but the moral thing for Hamlet to kill Cladius. However, this could just be another one of Shakespeare's amazing play writing talents.

  3. Kenia, you have brought up up a VERY interesting point. Since your classmates are unresponsive to your keen perception on this blog page, please share these thoughts with them in class aloud.