How does Fortinbras compare with Hamlet?

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The two princes have a lot in common. Firstly, they are both a menace to Denmark, now ruled by the murderous Claudius: Fortinbras is invading the sacred space of the Danish kingdom from outside; Hamlet is undermining the certainties and the false pretences of the court from within. Secondly, they portray youthful rebels against the powers-that-be, embodied by Claudius and Polonius especially. Thirdly, they are newcomers to the old game of politics, powerful outsiders who will strike robust blows against the empire.

However, there are also important differences: although Hamlet clearly admires Fortinbras for his dedication and willingness to act, he also underlines the deep gulf between them by undertaking his “revenge” in a very original way. Fortinbras is a man of action and war; in a way, he follows the old tradition of conquering land with violence and solving disputes through bloodshed. On the contrary, Hamlet is a modern ideologist who knows that action is useless because it only...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 817 words.)

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