Who is threatened in Act One, besides Claudius?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Horatio says to Marcellus, the whole country of Denmark is being threatened by Fortinbras. Horatio says:

"... young Fortinbras,

Of unimproved metal hot and full,

Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there,

Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes,...

As it doth well appear unto our state—

But to recover of us, by strong hand

And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands

So by his father lost." (I,i, 109-116)

This would threaten not only Claudius, but Gertrude, Hamlet and all the royal advisors if Fortinbras succeeded. 

gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If we go by Shakespeare's great play, Denmark's a risky place and everyone seems to be threatened. However, the most immediate threats are aimed at Horatio, Bernardo, and Marcellus in the first scene, and then later, Hamlet. After all, who wouldn't be threatened by a ghost appearing? As Horatio says when he sees the ghost, "…It harrows me with fear and wonder." The very appearance of any supernatural creature would threaten the world, but to have the ghost look like the late king scares these men, and then, later, his son.