Hamlet Vs. Fortinbras Essay

942 words - 4 pages

Hamlet vs Fortinbras


In Hamlet the character of Fortinbras, a young Norwegian

prince, has been used as a foil for the main character Hamlet,

the Prince of Denmark. Hamlet and Fortinbras have both lost

their fathers to untimely deaths. Hamlet's father, King Hamlet,

was killed by his uncle Claudius and Fortinbras' father was

killed by King Hamlet. Both Hamlet and Fortinbras have vowed to

take revenge for the deaths of their fathers. However, how they

go about doing this is the complete opposite of the other.

Hamlet, after learning that his father's death was murder

and promising to take revenge, waits and makes sure that what he

knows is the absolute truth before he even attempts to take

revenge on Claudius. Even after Hamlet is sure beyond any doubts

that Claudius is the murderer, he hesitates to kill him.

Fortinbras, however, has been taking action even before the play

begins. As the play opens, we learn that Denmark is in a state

of alert. The audience learns that the country has been pre-

paring for a war, and from Horatio, the they also learn that the

young Fortinbras is getting ready his "lawless resolutes" for

action against Denmark for the killing of his father and for the

return of lands previously owned by Norway, (Hamlet I.i. 79-107)

These differences between Hamlet's and Fortinbras' action are

further mentioned in Hamlet's last soliloquy, (Hamlet IV.iv. 32-66)

Before the soliloquy begins, Hamlet has been informed by one

of Fortinbras's Captains that Norway is preparing to fight

Poland over a "little patch of land", and that twenty thousand

men are willing to fight for this worthless piece of land just

for honor's sake. This begins Hamlet's last soliloquy. In it

Hamlet is reflecting upon Fortinbras' determination to go

against the Polish army for the honor over a trivial matter

while he himself is taking such a long time in avenging the his

father's fate and his mother's disgrace.

The soliloquy begins with Hamlet's thoughts on how much

time has passed and he still hasn't done anything. He says:

"How all occasions do inform against me,

And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,

If his chief good and market of his time

Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more."

(Hamlet IV.iv. 32-35)

In these lines, Hamlet is thinking about all the time he has

wasted in not taking action. He sees how everything around him

is taking shape, all except his own actions. He goes on to say

"Sure, he that made us with such large discourse, Looking before

and after, gave us not that capability and god-like reason to

fust in...

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