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Foils A character that might parallel yet contrast another is said to be a foil. A foil is used to clarify character traits as well as issues in stories and plays. An example of this would be Iago and Othello from the Shakespeare play Othello. Othello is a trustworthy and upstanding individual who has a slight problem as far as spontaneity is concerned. Iago, on the other hand, is deceptive and manipulative, but Iago thinks …

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…possibilities for character. It also helps us to see what they are capable and incapable of doing and feeling. After doing an analysis of these 5 characters, I can see now that Hamlet wishes that he had the “intestinal fortitude” of Laertes and the calmness and collectivity of Horatio. Had Hamlet and Horatio’s characters been switched in this play, I believe that it would have gone much differently. In the end though, Hamlet is foiled.