Why does Hamlet appoint Fortinbras successor to his throne in act 5?

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It seems clear that the crown in Denmark did not automatically descend as it did in some other countries; if it had, Hamlet would have become King when his father was murdered. Even if there was some relative the audience doesn't know about, the King seems to have been able to choose his successor. Once Claudius and Gertrude are dead, Hamlet, as the apparent sole survivor (albeit briefly) with a claim to the throne, has the power to endorse anyone, though it is clear throughout the play that the King has to be approved, or "elected," by unnamed people.

Fortinbras's father, who shares his name, was killed in combat by Hamlet's father, and his lands reverted to the Danish king. We learn in the first scene that Denmark is preparing for war, as it is believed that young Fortinbras will invade the kingdom to regain his father's lands (a consequence of King Hamlet 's death and, more importantly, of his desire for revenge). Like Hamlet, young Fortinbras's uncle has taken the throne, and he prevails on...

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