Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Discuss the presence of Fortinbras in Act IV scene 4 of Hamlet. What does he seem to represent to Hamlet?

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Act IV scene 4 is crucial in building up a picture of Hamlet as he is forced to leave to go to England having killed Plonius and offended Claudius. As he leaves, he meets the Norwegian army that is going to fight over some "scrap" of Polish territory. Hamlet compares the willingness of soldiers in this army to go and die for something that must mean so little to them and to act on an issue that has so little personal connection to them. Fortinbras , who is fighting over this land, is an example of somebody who is willing to act and respond when he has reason. This of course is the direct opposite of Hamlet, who has...

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