Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What happens with Fortinbras at the end of Hamlet?

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Fortinbras is in a similar situation to Hamlet: he seeks to reclaim a land his father lost before dying. He is one of Hamlet's foils, however; instead of overthinking his course of action, Fortinbras proves to be a man of direct action, aligning an army to support his efforts. Hamlet recognizes the strengths of Fortinbras as a leader, too, remarking,

To be great
is not to stir without great argument
but greatly to find quarrel in a straw
when honors at the stake.

When Fortinbras charges onto the scene of so much death at the end of the play, he arrives just after Hamlet gives his blessing that this is the man who deserves to be the next king. Fortinbras provides much respect for the fallen Hamlet, allowing for a soft closure on this tragic loss of life:

For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royal; and for his passage,
The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.

Fortinbras acknowledges that his success rests on the death of Hamlet, though not by his own hands,...

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