Minor Characters and Themes Minor Characters in Essay

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Minor Characters and Themes

Minor characters in any play act as supporting foils and help to advance the plot. Without these foils, it would be impossible for the play to progress in the way that playwright has envisioned. Besides carrying the play forward, they also help in highlighting the major themes of the literary piece. In almost every piece of fiction, whether a play or short story or novel, we come across certain important minor characters that are minor because while they lend support to the plot, they are not directly influenced by the intentions of the author. The people who remain in the forefront and bear the brunt of all action are the major characters, and thus their in the story is obvious and needs little discussion. However it is the minor characters that need to be closely analyzed or discussed to see why they have been placed in the story and what purpose do they serve. The best way to accomplish this is by removing them from the play and see how the story would have turned out had there been no minor character. This help in accentuating their importance and also reveals their purpose in the story as Roy Walker notes, "They [minor characters are] are aspects of a larger truth, elements in a more majestical theme." In Shakespeare's plays we come across more than a few minor characters. Usually his plays are fraught with characters varying in significance and impact. In Hamlet we meet few important minor characters including Gertrude, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Claudius or Horatio cannot be termed minor because they played extremely dominant roles in the play and thus are excluded from the list of minor characters. Once we have recognized the minor characters, our next step is to find out what purpose they served in the play and what themes did they bring to the fore. In Hamlet, we notice that the three minor characters mentioned above helped in highlighting the importance of honest relationships in one's life. Every person needs some sound reliable relationships in his life and with the absence of the same, he is likely to disintegrate as a person. That is exactly what happens to Hamlet who suffers because of the betrayal of his friends and mother. He was so emotionally broken by the realization that his mother had remarried so quickly after the death of his father and that his two childhood friends had been conspiring against him that he starts having fits of lunacy. Relationships act as cornerstone for a successful life. Fake, imaginary or less than genuine relationships cast a negative…

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