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Hamlet, a doomed noble prince who can't accept what the world needs him to do and be?...

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haz01 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 28, 2007 at 6:55 PM via web

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Hamlet, a doomed noble prince who can't accept what the world needs him to do and be? a coward? mad?

Why does he act? What's Shakespeare suggesting by this? How does he compare with Fortinbras, Horatio, Laertes? How do his soliloquies trace his state of mind, and why do they cease? So many questions about Hamlet! Thanks to anyone who helps!

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 28, 2007 at 9:06 PM (Answer #1)

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I'll try to give a brief explanation concerning Hamlet versus Fortinbras, as that will give you some insight into Hamlet's mental state and character. I would recommend, though, that you check the link below for more information.

Fortinbras acts as a foil to Hamlet. Fortinbras demonstrates the willingness to jump in and act - full-steam ahead to get things done that need to be done. Hamlet admires Fortinbras for this willingness, and curses himself for his hesitation, particularly with regards to killing his uncle/stepfather, Claudius.  Hamlet is a thinker, not a doer, which leads to the tragedy's conclusion.  Had Hamlet been able to act quickly upon the information that Claudius murdered his father, then only Claudius would have died (in theory), rather than the entire Danish royal family.  But then, Hamlet wouldn't be much of a tragedy, would it?


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