Marxist Critique

In “The Disruptive Force of Laertes,” I delve into Marxist ideas of class and society present in Hamlet, specifically looking at the character of Laertes. In the essay, I incorporate the ideas of Karl Marx on society and Louis Althusser on the structural apparatuses present in society.  Overall, I discuss how Laertes may seem like a foil to society as represented by Claudius and Hamlet through his actions which seem to go against the status quo, each action Laertes commits only further illustrates and solidifies his high status and class in Denmark. His spot at the head of an open rebellion against Claudius shows that the people view him as higher than them as they back what they seem to believe is a rebellion, as well as the fact that he can get away with doing something like that to get the attention of the king. His forcing of the Christian burial of his sister seems to go against cultural apparatuses, but the fact that he can even assert this demonstrates the wealth and power he controls. Finally, he plots to murder the price and heir to the throne of a sovereign nation of which he is a part of. While this shows his disregard for governmental structure and laws, again his wealth and power give him the ability to do so. This all solidifies the idea that Laertes is not pushing against the grain, he is merely a symptom of the society in place within the novel that Marx critiques. Enjoy!


The Disruptive Force of Laertes