Why is Fortinbras's presence important? Hamlet (act 5)

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In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the appearance of Hamlet's foil, Fortinbras, a man of brevity, loyalty, and bravery, provides the impetus to Hamlet's final actions.  Like Hamlet, Fortinbras has had a father slain, but he immediately seeks revenge.  But, unlike Hamlet the procrastinator, he is, as Claudius brazenly calls him "an opportunist."  Horatio warns that Fortinbras (whose name suggests strength [fort=strong]) "is going to recover of us by strong hand" the lands that King Hamlet has taken from his father. And, like Hamlet he is the true heir to the throne of his country, the Prince of Norway as Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark.  The...

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Fortinbras is perhaps the strangest. He is barely seen and speaks little. Other characters often speak of him in low tones. Oddly enough, though, Fortinbras is a stabilizing force in the action of the play and he also functions as a framing device for the play itself. He makes his presence known only at the beginning, middle and end. click the link to read more

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