| Leland Holst |
[Birthday:] November 20
[Family:] Mother and father are deceased, his brother Oliver is still living.
"I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the world, I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be reveng'd
Most throughly for my father."
— Laertes, in Hamlet
Act 4 Scene 5
Laertes is the only son of Polonius, and brother to Ophelia, Laertes’ role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He is first seen in the play giving his sister advice to keep caste from Hamlet’s forward advances. She chides him, then, for telling her to remain pure while he himself is ‘immoral’ while away in France. Following their brief exchange, Polonius tells his son to behave in a moral manner while in France, before giving Laertes his blessing and sending him on his way.
While in France, however, Hamlet slays Polonius as he spies on the Prince and his mother in her bedchamber. Once the news reaches Laertes, he returns to Denmark and confronts Claudius about his father’s death. The King sways Laertes by telling him that he was not responsible for Polonius’ death but instead Hamlet was. Carefully, Claudius incites him to take revenge on the prince for his father’s demise.
When Ophelia appears in a mad state, Laertes’ plans to take Hamlet’s life are cemented, and only strengthened when she later drowns in a pond. Because the Priest doubt her purity, Ophelia is not given a proper Christian burial, further inciting anger and bitterness toward Hamlet. When the prince suddenly appears at the funeral, they are both held back to prevent a brawl.
Claudius arranges a fencing duel between the two, later, and plots to Laertes to ensure Hamlet’s death. They agree to kill Hamlet by means of a poisoned blade, and if that should fail, by poisoning the wine. However, as the duel begins, Hamlet apologizes publicly and Laertes seemingly accepts. Though, despite this, Laertes falls through with his plan to kill Hamlet, and eventually strikes him with the blade. In the scuffle that follows, Laertes himself is struck by his own blade and falls. Before his death he tells Hamlet of the plot against him and of Claudius’ hand in it. The two exchange final forgiveness and Laertes then dies.
Leland Holst is a modern Laertes, who’s father (Peder Holst) perished in a plane crash in early February while he was attending his Senior year as an exchange student in France. Returning home, he immediately takes up the mantel of the family patriarch and cares for his brother. He is forced to drop out of his Senior year in order to win custody of his brother Oliver. While financially sound, he still takes a job at a local bowling alley to provide a small, but important income for them.
When Oliver begins a relationship with Hannah Dangaard, Leland is leery of two and advises his brother against becoming too involved. However, his advisements fall flat considering his own behavior in regards to relationships. He was in the past, known to be a bit of a womanizer, and often involved with several girls at once.
When Hannah unexpectedly breaks off her relationship with Oliver in May, however, Leland’s resolve is put to the test. He has taken no time to mourn the loss of his father, choosing instead to focus on supporting his brother, and when Oliver attempts to commit suicide by drowning, he all but loses his mind. While Ollie survived, Leland focused much of the blame and anger toward Hannah, feeling that if she had simply left well enough alone is brother would be fine.
Over the summer, Leland and Oliver were forced to come to terms with the younger brother’s mental break. Leland’s put much of his life on hold, and has come just short of promising Hannah’s death for what she’s done. Indeed, if something were to happen to Oliver, it is very likely that Leland would have no reason to not kill her where she stood without regards to any consequences.
Currently Oliver and Hannah seem to be reforming their relationship, and Leland views this in mixed regards. He is reluctant to do anything that might worsen Oliver’s condition, but personally feels as if Hannah (destructive in her own nature) will do nothing be further harm his brother’s fragile mental state. And while outwardly Leland seems cheerful and exuberant, he is in fact continually worrying at his current situation. He sometimes expresses anger over his father’s death, something he still have little understanding of (the NTSB is still investigating the incident), and even less confidence in handling Oliver. However, much of his worries are kept inward, or entrusted to his closest friends.