Fortinbras as Foil for Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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Fortinbras as Foil for Hamlet

In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the character of Fortinbras, has been used as a foil for the main character, Hamlet. Hamlet and Fortinbras have lost their fathers to untimely deaths. Claudius killed Hamlet's father, King Hamlet, and King Hamlet killed Fortinbras' father. Both Hamlet and Fortinbras have vowed to seek revenge for the deaths of their fathers. Since the revenge tactics of Hamlet and Fortinbras are completely different, Hamlet perceives the actions of Fortinbras as better than his own and the actions of Fortinbras, then, encourage Hamlet to act without hesitating.

Hamlet, after learning that his father's death was a murder and vowing to take revenge, wants to be
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The soliloquy begins with Hamlet's thoughts on how time is running by 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 by procrastinating. 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 us unus'd "(IV.iv.38-41) Here Hamlet is saying that every man has reason, and that reason should be put to good use. He also expresses the thought that he has "cause and will and strength and means to do't" (IV.iv.47-48) but still waits and thinks of taking action instead of taking action.

Next Hamlet goes on to describe Fortinbras. He asks the audience to:

Witness this army of such mass and charge

Led by a delicate and tender prince,

Whose spirit with divine ambition puf'd

Makes mouths at the invisible event,

Exposing what is mortal and unsure

To all that fortune,