Hamlet Fortinbras Character Analysis

604 Words3 Pages
One of the hallmarks of a classic work of literature is the skillful use of minor characters. Minor characters can be used to subtly influence how the reader sees the work in question, they can be used to parallel or contrast the more central characters in the play. Minor characters are often used to give a work of fiction a flavor of reality in that they can represent how seemingly inconsequential interactions shape the methods real people employ when dealing with life. An author can use minor characters as fine tools to highlight the main characters of the story, thus endowing them with greater force. One such character is Prince Fortinbras from Hamlet. Fortinbras plays a crucial role in Hamlet because his presence provides the reader with a parallel to Hamlet and a constitutional opposite to Hamlet–thus highlighting Hamlet as the central character in the play. Both Hamlet and Fortinbras are shaped by the actions of their fathers and the actions of their uncles. The characters have been shaped not so much by their fathers’ actions, but by their fates. One man killed the other in single combat, while the other was murdered. The characters deal with their respective fathers’ demises in dramatically different ways: Fortinbras attempts to…show more content…
While Fortinbras is preparing to lead an army against Denmark, Hamlet is paralyzed by an unending cycle of thought, analysis, and uncertainty. This leads the reader to see Fortinbras as a being of action and Hamlet as a being of thought. Even Hamlet himself is affected by Fortinbras’ proactive actions. Just after meeting with a captain in in Fortinbras’ passing army, he both praises Fortinbras’ willingness to actually do something and laments his inability to do the same. This contrast, enhanced by hamlet himself, reenforces the reader’s image of Hamlet as a being of thought as opposed to a being of direct

More about Hamlet Fortinbras Character Analysis

Open Document