At his first appearance, young Fortinbras is shown to be inferior to Hamlet; being "of unimproved metal, hot and full" (1.1.96) Fortinbras is initially shown as a sharp contrast to the "sweet and commendable" (1.2.87) Hamlet introduced in the next scene. Despite going through emotional and mental highs and lows, Hamlet seems to constantly be in a state of regression and thought:
Oftentimes, the minor characters in a play can be vital and, among other things, function to further the action of the play or to reveal and illuminate the personalities of other characters. In Hamlet, Fortinbras, the Norwegian Prince, serves as the most important foil of Hamlet and provides us with the actions and emotions in which we can compare to those of Hamlet and better reveal Hamlet’s own character. Because Hamlet and Fortinbras both lost their fathers and have sworn to avenge their deaths, Fortinbras is a perfect parallel of Hamlet. He was also very crucial to the play’s ending and to bring a remedy to the corruption that has plagued Denmark.
Fortinbras and Laertes are parallel characters to Hamlet, and they provide critical points on which to compare the actions and emotions of Hamlet throughout the play. They are also important in Hamlet,
Hamlet (prince of Denmark) can be greatly compared to Laertes (son of a noble), and Fortinbras (prince of Norway) in the play. They all are very similar but yet different at the same time. They all had love and respect for their fathers and felt the need to avenge their deaths, which all were brutally killed. All three believed that the murderers had dishonoured their fathers as well as themselves. They all reacted and took different approaches in attempt to restore honour in their families.
Hamlet vs Fortinbras HAMLET AND 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.
In Hamlet, Shakespeare introduces us to Fortinbras and Hamlet. Both characters are bent on avenging the death of their fathers who were murdered. In Act I, two different revenge plots by these two men are revealed, and while Fortinbras is very open and bold about killing Claudius, Hamlet is sly and quiet about his plan. Fortinbras is also dead set on attacking Denmark no matter what but Hamlet is indecisive about killing Claudius. Fortinbras plans to lead an army to attack Denmark while Hamlet’s plan of attack is to act crazy.
Fortinbras is threatening Denmark with vicious attack; the throne is stolen from its rightful owner; incest is being committed on the throne, and Denmark is being viewed as an appallingly weak monarchy. As the disturbance of the Great Chain of Being begins, it only shows signs of getting worse. The fact that Old Hamlet and Claudius are royal opposites does not help anything either. Old Hamlet is known as “a ‘majestical’ king and a great soldier”, and Claudius is known as “a smiling, creeping, serpent” (Wilson 58,44), while Old Hamlet’s “wisdom and human understanding” is contrasted with the depravities of Claudius, “murderer and usurper” (States 94,98). These profound divergences between Old Hamlet and Claudius are certainly dooming for Denmark’s Great Chain as they induce calamity.
In Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Hamlet there are similarities between Hamlet, Fortinbras, and Laertes. They do have some character differences but they face many of the same challenges and are put in similar situations. All three of the men have lost their fathers and are seeking to avenge their deaths in some way. Hamlet is contemplating killing Claudius, Fortinbras has gathered an army to reclaim lands that his father lost, and Laertes will do whatever it takes to get revenge for Polonius’ death. The main difference between the three men is that Fortinbras and Laertes are willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goal while Hamlet spends the majority of his time in thought trying to decide the right thing to do.
Hamlet says; “Look at this massive army led by a delicate and tender prince who’s so puffed up with divine ambition that he puts his fragile life at risk, exposing it to danger and death, for a reason as thin as an eggshell.” For as long as there has been literature the consumer has always been invested in the underdog, rooting for them to overcome the odds and achieve their goals. The uphill battle draws attention and evokes emotion like few other scenarios. By putting down prince Fortinbras and making him seem weak and unfit, Shakespeare is actually building him and getting the audience to take interest in a character that has taken a minor role so far in the play. Culture loves to take an interest in the underdog, and by undercutting Fortinbras, his relevance to the audience grows.
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.
Fortinbras is a manly warrior and shows the ability to take action. Similarly, Laertes is known for being a good fighter, a man of action, and having the ability to lead. During the play Laertes states, “To cut his throat i’th’ church”(IV.vii. 98). Laertes here says he would go as far as to kill Hamlet in the church, something almost unheard of. This portrays Laertes’ manly characteristics as being a rash and a well known fighter. The young Prince Hamlet, however, denies a chance to take his own revenge, as shown when he
Fortinbras and Hamlet both had lost their fathers in the hands of somebody else, Hamlet lost his father to Claudius and Fortinbras lost his father by Hamlet’s father. Both the men are in the position of being either the heir or the princes of their countries and needing to revenge their fathers’ deaths. However, the main difference between the two would be that Fortinbras is not afraid to invade another country to gain back what his father lost in the past. Hamlet tends to procrastinate and wait for things to happen on their own. Hamlet looked up to Fortinbras when he heard that he was invading Poland. Hamlet thought to himself that if Fortinbras can raise an army and invade Poland in such a short amount of time then why is it taking Hamlet
Fortinbras, as Hamlet describes, is able to act without any fear of death “When honor’s at the stake.” (55) Everything that Fortinbras is seems to be the opposite of Hamlet, even though they are both seeking revenge and have lost a father. Thus Fortinbras’s presence reminds Hamlet of his own goals he originally set out for. It was due to Fortinbras and his army of “twenty thousand men” who “Go to their graves like beds” that allowed Hamlet to question his own courage and thus see his flaw. His fear of his own death which was supposedly decided in his fourth soliloquy is now once again troubling his own mind. Should he risk his life and face the unknown afterlife in his quest of vengeance? His intellect portrayed in the fourth soliloquy steered him into the belief that he should choose life over suicide, for fear of the “undiscovered country” (81) in which “no travelers return” (82). Though the image of “twenty thousand men” marching to their deaths and fighting for a piece of land which is not even “tomb enough and continent/To hide the slain” gives reason for Hamlet to doubt his courage as he is afraid of death whereas Fortinbras and his army is not. In Hamlet’s book, this is a suicidal attempt, the act which he decided against in the fourth soliloquy. Hamlet’s intelligence thus portrays his madness as it is not his ability
William Shakespeare wrote the classic play, Hamlet in the sixteenth century. Hamlet would be a very difficult play to understand without the masterful use of foils. A foil is a minor character in a literary work that compliments the main character through similarities and differences in personality. The audience can identify similarities and differences between any of the characters and Hamlet, however, there are two characters that share so much in common with Hamlet that they have to be considered the most important foils in the play. These two characters are Laertes and Fortinbras. It is the great similarities between Laertes, Fortinbras, and Hamlet that make the