Compare & Contrast Fortinbras Hamlet

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Alex Klug English 1118 Professor Flaig 10/24/09 Fortinbras’ Importance to ‘Hamlet’ In the story of Hamlet, both Young Hamlet and Young Fortinbras lose their father’s. Few years before, Hamlet’s father, the dead King Hamlet, invaded Fortinbras’ country of Norway and took territory from them by force. Hamlet’s father was later killed by his brother, Claudius, and assumed position as King as well as marrying the formerly widowed Queen Gertrude. Eventually, both Young Fortinbras and Young Hamlet avenged their fathers’ deaths. Young Fortinbras did this through asserting himself and his military to action, and invading the then troubled Denmark. Despite Hamlet’s passive contemplation, he too avenged his father’s murder by stabbing Claudius and forcing him to gulp down a glass of poisoned wine. Both Young Hamlet and Young Fortinbras sought vengeance for their fathers’ untimely deaths, but had contrasting motives and completely opposite plans of action. Fortinbras' father, King of Norway, was killed during battle for control of “a little patch of ground”(4.4, 19). Fortinbras’ uncle claims the throne of Norway just as Claudius took the throne in Denmark, and linked the common destiny between Young Fortinbras and Hamlet in their attempt for vengeance of their fathers’ deaths. Fortinbras’ and Hamlet contrast in their taking of action where Fortinbras’ acts immediately after reasoning, where Hamlet makes continual lackadaisical steps towards revenge. Although both equally sought vengeance, their motives contrasted. Hamlet wasn’t only troubled because his father had been murdered, but because his mother married his uncle Claudius, the murderer, just a few months following the death. This continuously haunted him because of their public displays of affection, which he found nauseating. In Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in act 1, scene 2 he wonders to himself,

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