Foils Of Fortinbras In Hamlet

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The Foils of Hamlet A minor character, who serves as a comparison to the main character, is a literary foil. For a character to be a foil, they must have things in common with the main character, in order to make differences more apparent. A foil could simply be another character for the protagonist to talk to, in order for the readers to better understand the thoughts and feelings of the main character. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, nearly every character serves as a foil to the main character, Hamlet. Shakespeare characterizes Laertes and Fortinbras in certain ways that draws attention to Hamlet’s indecisive character, making them the two major foils to Hamlet. The first foil, Laertes, serves as the most important foil to Hamlet.…show more content…
For example, Hamlet, after learning that his father’s death was a murder, wants to be certain that he is being told the truth before taking revenge. Even after confirming that Claudius is the murderer, Hamlet thinks to himself, “And now I’ll do’t…/And so I am revenged,” contemplating whether or not to kill Claudius, and he still is not able to do it (Shakespeare. III. iii. 77-79). Fortinbras, on the other hand waits patiently until King Hamlet dies before sending an army of men to reclaim the land, therefore avoiding confrontation between the two. When Hamlet sees the army of men headed for Denmark, he compares himself to Prince Fortinbras, stating that he is “thinking too precisely on th’event-/A thought which quartered, hath but one part wisdom/And ever three parts coward” (Shakespeare. IV. iv. 43-45). In this part of the play, Hamlet sees himself as a procrastinator and Fortinbras as a man of action, creating a foil of his own. At the end of the play as Hamlet is dying, he realizes that he and Fortinbras have more similarities than not, and that Fortinbras would be the best option for Denmark, so he inherits the throne. Fortinbras as a foil plays an important role in pointing out the aspects that Hamlet needs in order to avenge the death of his

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