Do Hamlet and Fortinbras meet in Act 4, Scene 4? Why is this significant?

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Hamlet and Fortinbras do not meet in this scene – Fortinbras is commanding a Norwegian outfit on its way to Poland to fight for what his captain describes as “a little patch of ground/That hath in it no profit but the name.”  Fortinbras has sent this captain to the king of Denmark to ask for permission to march through his realm on their way to battle; on his way, the captain meets Hamlet.

Hamlet is very moved by the captain’s story, and sees Fortinbras’s actions as noble, proud, and courageous – to send troops to fight for a worthless trophy, and for the Polish to construct a garrison to defend it, appears to Hamlet as the worthiest of causes.  “Rightly to be great/Is not to stir without great argument,” he soliloquizes, “But greatly to find quarrel with a straw/When honor’s at the stake.”  He is embarrassed and angry at himself for his indecisive philosophizing, and this campaign of Fortinbras’s spurs him to action.  He sees the march of the Norwegian army as a...

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