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What have you learned about young Fortinbras's personality, even though you have not...

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thebrotammie | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 27, 2013 at 6:47 AM via iOS

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What have you learned about young Fortinbras's personality, even though you have not yet met him?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted July 27, 2013 at 5:36 PM (Answer #1)

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The brief appearance of Fortinbras (actually two are mentioned, father and son) lets us know only about his military and kingship aspirations, as he, the Crown Prince, is the immanent threat on Denmark’s borders during the struggle for the kingship between Hamlet and his stepfather, Claudius.  He is the son of the ruling king of Norway; as such, there can be seen a parallel to Hamlet’s situation, or rather a contrast to it, since the succession will be legal and uncontested.  (It should be noted, too, that the elder died in a battle before the play’s time.)  The political business at the end of the play also symbolizes a reconciliation of Denmark’s dilemma, since Fortinbras will join Norway and Denmark, as was historically true during Shakespeare’s life.  Fortinbras reveals a compassion spirit and a peace-loving demeanor ( Let us haste to hear it/And call the noblest to the audience./For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune), and his treatment of Hamlet’s body in a respectful military salute shows his love of ceremony and his respect for Hamlet’s nobility.

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