In Act 5, scene 2, Hamlet remarks, “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy.” Explain Hamlet’s motivation behind this comment and examine how true is his remark.

Compare and contrast the characters of Hamlet and Fortinbras. Is Fortinbras a valuable character in his own right or does he serve only to highlight aspects of Hamlet’s personality?

26 thoughts on “Hamlet

  1. Hamlet’s motivation is to disclaim anything he has done to make Laertes angry. He explains that he was not himself and therefore denies his actions, and that he hopes his disclaimer would free him from Laerte’s thoughts and prevent a needless duel from happening. I think his remark isn’t entirely true because Hamlet says that his madness is merely an act, so anything he did was really him in his right mind as he was acting. Hamlet and Fortinbras are similar in that they are both on a quest to avenge their father’s, Hamlet for his father’s murder and Fortinbras for his father’s honor. Forinbras is a valuable character because his quest to attack Denmark reflects Hamlet’s own quest and character in doing so. Fortinbras also serves as a valuable character as he is the one who Hamlet says should rule Denmark now that the royal family is non-existent. Although Fortinbras does highlight the part of Hamlet’s personality that is indecisive, as Hamlet hesitates in killing Claudius while he is praying, so does Fortinbras hesitate in attacking Denmark, he is still a valuable character as the conflict that surrounds him, his father, and Fortinbras plan to attack Denmark is essential to Hamlet and his storyline because they’re intertwined.

  2. Hamlet’s motivation by his remark “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” was fueled by the murder of Polonius, for this event is what inspired Laertes’s plot for revenge on Hamlet by means of a duel, coupled with the death/suicide of his Laertes’s sister Ophelia, whom Hamlet seemed to love one moment and not the next, owing to his madness. This is a true remark, because all throughout the play Hamlet’s madness caused him to be followed and spied upon, kill his friend, lose his potential lover, and also die in the last act. I believe his madness was brought on by the drive to revenge his father since his uncle and step father the king killed Hamlet’s father, who was then forced to walk the earth and not rest in peace, and because Hamlet’s mother married the new king.
    Fortinbras serves only to highlight Hamlet’s personality. He is not a dynamic character and appears only a number of times in the play. As he says right after Hamlet’s death, “For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune: I have some rights of memory in this kingdom, Which now, to claim my vantage doth invite me.” Fortinbras now serves as the memory-holder of the kingdom, since both kings, the queen, Hamlet, Laertes, and Ophelia have all perished; he is only the new king because it was Hamlet’s dying wish. Although Hamlet and Fortinbras may have been friends, Fortinbras is not as valuable a character as Hamlet.

  3. Hamlet’s main purpose was to put a distinction between himself and his illness. He refers to himself in the third person as to separate himself from the wrong he has done because of his illness. To an extent, the comment was correct. In his right mind, Hamlet would not have behaved the way he had. The stress of losing his father and learning that someone he loved and trusted was the murderer took a toll on Hamlet’s mental stability. Fortinbras and Hamlet are extremely similar characters. The main difference between the characters is the way they went about avenging their fathers. Fortinbras’ went about revenge as a solider while Hamlet sought revenge as a scholar. He had numerous opportunities to kill his Uncle, but wanted to first prove his Uncle’s guilt. Even when Claudius was vulnerable and in prayer, Hamlet, though he had every intention of killing his Uncle, hesitated because he was practicing his religion.

  4. When Hamlet claims that “His madness is poor Hamlet’s Enemy” he is attempting to distance himself from his actions. I believe in his heart that Hamlet truly feels bad about hurting Laertes who is really only a victim like Hamlet himself. He chooses to use the excuse of his mental illness as a way to ease his guilty conscience and let himself off the hook a little bit. I believe this remark is true. Hamlet has shown throughout the book that he does have occasional moments of passion during which he loses control. This is one of those instances. He has worked himself into a rage while confronting Gertrude about her betrayal and all his feelings come flowing to the surface. This combined with her denial of having done anything wrong pushes Hamlet to the point where he is not thinking clearly. It is during this temporary insanity that he kills Polonius.
    Fortinbras and Hamlet are very similar characters. The motivating action behind both of these characters is clearly a desire to avenge their fathers against a perceived wrong doing. Both have a high standing in their community and are royalty. One significant difference between the two is the way they act. Where Fortinbras is impulsive and sets out to attack Denmark soon after the death of Hamlet Sr., Hamlet thinks things through and hesitates to take action until he has all the facts. This is the only reason Fortinbras is significant to the story at all. He highlights this aspect of Hamlet’s personality and makes it more apparent. He is only mentioned at the beginning and end of the novel and has no impact on the plot what so ever. For this reason Fortinbras is not a valuable character on his own.

  5. Hamlet’s madness derives from the homicide of his father. This drives his motivation to commit murder and contemplate suicide during his famous soliloquy “to be or not to be” (III.i.58-90). Hamlet is lamenting, in front of Laertes, the fact that he haphazardly killed Polonius. His insanity, he claims, drove him to commit the sin. He pleads for forgiveness, blaming his deficiency on his madness. Ironically, his affirmation of his mania had put him in a place where he committed murder against his own will. His madness, therefore, is his own enemy. However, whether Hamlet actually went mad or not is enigmatic. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to create the ambiguity of the legitimacy of Hamlet’s madness. He wrote so that the audience knew that Hamlet was feigning his madness when he proclaims he will “put an antic disposition on,” but certain other characters in the play were oblivious to his histrionics (I.v.170-172). It is vague whether Hamlet really let his grief concede to metamorphose into an authentic lunacy.
    For a plethora of reasons, Shakespeare wrote the play with the intention of making Hamlet and Fortinbras parallel characters. Their similarities range from as miniscule as being named after their fathers to as major as planning to get revenge for the murder of their aristocratic fathers. Unlike Fortinbras’s father, King of Poland, who was killed by King Hamlet of Denmark, Hamlet’s father was slain by his own sibling so that he could reign over Denmark. Both princes sought to get revenge on the one whom killed their father. While Fortinbras was going to fight with Denmark, Hamlet sought to avenge his uncle. However, Fortinbras’ decisiveness and determination contributes to highlighting Hamlet’s tentative and impromptu personality. With Hamlet’s dying breath, he gives his power to rule over Denmark to Fortinbras, in a way to make amends (V.ii.356). This foreshadows what will become of the kingdom under his rule. Shakespeare’s motivation behind the creation of Fortinbras was to emphasize aspects of Hamlet’s disposition. Due to the immense amount of similarities between the characters, Fortinbras represents Hamlet’s potential to rule a kingdom. Fortinbras’s position as forthcoming king foreshadows the countrymen’s future of having a moral authority.

  6. Hamlet states this in order to take the blame from himself. By saying that it is madness that drives him to do outrageous things he hopes to negate the consequences. His actions that have destroyed a family are too much for himself to bear. The grief he experiences is translated into him trying to claim mental insanity. The ends that he hoped to accomplish have all deteriorated and as he senses a new battle coming with Laretes, he realizes that what he claims to be madness has caused him and others more pain than intended.
    I believe Fortinbras is an essential character because he does not excuse his actions to be from madness. He undergoes similar emotions and loses loved ones like Hamlet and yet he takes responsibility for all his actions just the same. The use of him in the story is to show how Hamlet would act had he not a tragic flaw.

  7. Hamlet’s motivation behind this comment is to explain to Laertes that he had no intentions of insulting him and states that it was indeed his illness that is the reason he did so. Hamlet wants to clear any issues that Laertes might have with him and hopes that he is able to forgive him. I do not believe that Hamlet meant what he said. In Act 3, scene 4, Hamlet says to his mother, “That I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft.” Hamlet is admitting to only pretending to be mad and therefore proves that his apology to Laertes was untrue. Hamlet and Fortinbras both fight to uphold their honor. They both lost their fathers and are seeking revenge in their own ways. Both characters are very ambitious and sometimes go to extremes because of that. Hamlet acts out in the wrong ways due to his personality and causes the ones around him and himself to die because of it. Fortinbras is like Hamlet only without this tragic flaw and ends up taking Hamlet’s future position by becoming the king of Denmark.

  8. The motivation behind Hamlet’s remark is that he wanted to appease Laertes and hopefully evade the proposed duel. Hamlet says that his madness is what has caused him to commit the acts that have put him in a bad position, such as killing Polonius. This claim is partially true because Hamlet is slightly mad due to anger at his father’s murder, and this causes him to act out and be vengeful. However, throughout the story, though Hamlet is acting “mad,” he is very good with his words and thoughtful. He knows what he is doing, and uses his “madness” as a cover-up, like when he uses the play to show his uncle’s crime.

    Hamlet and Fortinbras are similar characters because they are both on a quest to avenge their fathers’ deaths and restore their honor. However, they go about it indifferent ways. Fortinbras seeks revenge by attempting to win back the land Hamlet’s father took by attacking Denmark. Hamlet, however, tries to avenge his father’s murder by murdering his uncle after making him acknowledge his guilt. Fortinbras is concerned with getting back what is his, and Hamlet is concerned with making his uncle pay for what he did for eternity.

    Fortinbras serves to highlight aspects of Hamlet’s personality, such as Hamlet’s desire to right the wrong, and Hamlet’s potential to be a great leader. He is a valuable character because he finally gets Hamlet the honor he believes he deserves, but his actions in the story have little significance other than to be what finally restores honor to Hamlet after his death.

  9. In Act 5, scene 2, Hamlet remarks, “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy.” Hamlet says this to ask forgiveness of Laertes and explain himself. He wronged them earlier in the book and now that they are both facing death, he is trying to justify what he did. Hamlet says that when he wronged Laertes earlier in the play he had gone mad, and was insane. In that case, he feels it was not actually himself that was wrong. He was not trying to hurt Laertes purposely. The characters Hamlet and Fortinbras are similar in multiple ways. For one, they are both the sons of deceased kings. They are also both seeking revenge because of their fathers’ deaths. Although they are both seeking revenge because of their fathers’ deaths, Fortinbras is clear in what he wants and is focused. Hamlet, on the other hand, has to be reminded by his father’s ghost of what his mission actually is. Fortinbras is put in the play to foil Hamlet and he highlights aspects of his personality. He is merely a minor character that has no major impact on the piece. He is not a valuable character.

  10. Hamlet is attempting to distance himself from his illness and to express to Laertes that it was his madness not his free will that ultimately killed Polonius. Hamlet understands that like him, Laertes is grieving his murdered father and wants to use his ploy of madness to protect himself from Laertes’ impulsive anger. I do not believe his remark has truth to it. Hamlet says to Horatio when they meet his father’s ghost “How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself (As I perchance hereafter shall think meet/To put an antic disposition on)”. Hamlet is using the guise of his madness to allow him to get closer to his enemies, but as he goes he apparently finds that it also serves to remedy the mistakes he makes.
    Fortinbras and Hamlet are both princes that had their father’s killed and want revenge. Fortinbras, to Hamlet’s astonishment, creates a battle over “a little patch of land / That hath in it no profit but the name”. Hamlet does not understand why so many lives must be lost for something so insignificant. Also, whereas Fortinbras is hot-headed and impulsive because he wants to attack Denmark right when he learns of his father’s death, Hamlet thinks out his actions liken the time he could have killed Claudius, but did not because he had already repented for his sins and wanted to kill him during a sinful act. Fortinbras is not a valuable character. He only appears a few times and his sole purpose is to highlight Hamlet personality traits and to become the King of Denmark after the tragic end of the play.

  11. When Hamlet says “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy”, he is trying to blame everything he did wrong on his mental insanity. Hamlet said this because there were too many bad events occurring such as Ophelia’s drowning, his Father’s murder, and his Uncle taking possession of the throne and marrying his mother, the Queen. As his anger reached the point of insanity, he acted outrageously in the event in which he murdered Polonius, assuming it was King Claudius. All of this contributed to a huge burden upon Hamlet’s shoulders, of which he could not bear. As a result, he blamed most of it upon his “madness”. He is regretful at the end of the play, but it is too late, and he has already begun the fight with Laertes. Laertes is angry at Hamlet because he blames his sister’s drowning and father’s death on Hamlet. I do not agree with the validity of his statement as it proves that he is not willing to accept the consequences for his actions.

    Hamlet, when compared to Fortinbras, has much in common with Fortinbras. Such as both have family members who have died and they both seek revenge. Fortinbras decides to make a hasty decision to make war with Denmark; whereas, Hamlet takes his time, ponders on what has happened and tries to logically think everything out. This is the contrasting element that makes Hamlet different from Fortinbras. On his own, Fortinbras is not a valuable character because he offers nothing to the plot or major events in the story. His only purpose is to elucidate on Hamlet’s character, demonstrating the difference one decision can make in two very similar circumstances.

  12. Hamlet states that, “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” for the purpose of attempting to distance himself from his madness. He refers to himself by name because he is trying to say that what he may have done was due to his madness and not Hamlet himself. Both Hamlet and Fortinbras are similar in character and actions, such as the royal birth they share. Both characters are looking to avenge the deaths of their fathers, although their situations may be different. Fortinbras only exists to highlight aspects of Hamlet’s personality, such as his potential to have been a strong and just leader and in his ability to show mercy to his enemies, as shown in Hamlet sparing Claudius when he was praying and how Fortinbras grants a military funeral to the son of the man who killed his father.

  13. When Hamlet says “his madness is poor hamlet’s enemy”, his intent is to ease Laertes’ anger, and to claim that he was not himself when he killed Polonius. I do not believe that Hamlet’s remark is true. He is trying to use his mental instability as an excuse for murder, which he initially claimed was only an act. I think that Hamlet tells Laertes this in order to calm his rage and to save himself, not as a sincere apology, or because he believes that his madness took so much control over him as to make him kill Laertes’ father.
    Fortinbras’ and Hamlet’s lives parallel one another in that they are both seeking to avenge the deaths of their fathers. However, their personalities contrast strongly. Fortinbras is impulsive, decisive, and does not think before he acts. However, Hamlet is meandering, contemplative, and feels as though he needs to know everything before he can act. Eventually, this is his tragic flaw, because it prevents him from taking revenge on Claudius, and causes Hamlet’s own death. Fortinbras exists only to emphasize Hamlet’s characteristics, both good and bad. All though his traits serve as a sharp contrasts to Hamlet’s, Fortinbras is a very minor character, and exists only so that the reader (or audience) can see how apparent Hamlet’s flaws and personality traits are.

  14. Hamlet’s comment that “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” primarily serves as an excuse for his killing of Polonius. Though this is the closest Hamlet actually comes to expressing guilt for his own actions and their effects on others, he is still attempting to place the blame not on himself, but on his “insanity,” which is actually a farce. This takes truth from his statement. Because he proves himself multiple times to be sane, none of his actions were born of true madness. However, it is arguable that Hamlet’s passionate grief and rage at both his father’s murder and his mother’s remarriage inspired in him a momentary craziness that caused him to kill Polonius. On the other hand, Hamlet seemed rather calm and unconcerned with the bloodshed he had just caused, and immediately hoped that he had inadvertently killed Claudius, inquiring, “Is it the king?” (Act III, scene IV) Because of this question, which seems to betray his true motivation in drawing the sword, Hamlet’s statement in Act V, scene II seems untrue. It is Hamlet’s inability to balance thought and action, not his “madness”, that is his enemy.

    Hamlet and Fortinbras are two characters that Shakespeare intended for comparison. Both are motivated by revenge for the deaths of their fathers, who are their namesakes. On both parts, it is a matter of honor. However, the personalities of the two young princes are vastly different. Hamlet never takes direct action and instead thinks obsessively about every aspect of the revenge he seeks, whereas Fortinbras does not hesitate to act. Similarly, when Hamlet does choose to act during his lengthy course to revenge, he does so thoughtlessly, recklessly, and with disastrous consequences; Fortinbras, on the other hand, is able to balance thought and action and achieves positive results. This is not to say Hamlet is unintelligent—rather, both Hamlet and Fortinbras are very smart, but one is a philosopher and the other a soldier. In the end, though Fortinbras’ primary purpose is to highlight portions of Hamlet’s personality, he proves a valuable character. His final actions in the play honor Hamlet, and his likely ascension to the Danish throne, though not actually portrayed, would have helped lift Denmark from its unhealthy state, which is arguably more important than the turmoil that occurred previously within the castle.

  15. In Act 5, Scene 2 when Hamlet remarks, “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” he is hoping to distance himself from his actions throughout the play, especially the death of Polonius. By making this remark, he is claiming he is in fact mad and the man he is because of this is his enemy. This is in hopes of displacing the fault in his actions to his madness. Hamlet planned on this being enough to avoid the duel. The remark proves partially true as Hamlet is somewhat driven mad due to the death of his father and with this his newfound paranoia of being murdered himself is the cause of Polonius’ murder. However, it is evident that Hamlet has not gone completely mad, as he is able to think, speak, plan, and connive quite clearly throughout the play.

    Hamlet and Fortinbras are similar in multiple ways. Both are seeking revenge for their fathers’ deaths. They pursue revenge in different ways however. Hamlet looks to kill his father’s murderer, his uncle, where Fortinbras is attempting to win back the land his father lost. Fortinbras highlights aspects of Hamlet’s personality like his need to make right the wrong that had been done. He is crucial in the legend of Hamlet and what happened being told truthfully as well as giving honor to Hamlet’s name and his throne

  16. When Hamlet says “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” He was trying to explain to Claudius that his actions are not his own when he is insane. He has no control of what he says or does when his vengeance is taking over him. While he says all of this to Claudius he knows that part of it is because he has a guilty conscious and he doesn’t want to be punished for his actions. I believe that he believes what he is saying is true. I believe that he thinks he has no control of his actions when all he is focused on is seeking revenge for his dead father. When Hamlet killed Laertes’ father, Polonius, He didn’t do it to intentionally hurt Laetres. The paranoia that followed Hamlet after he saw his father as a ghost overcomes him and makes him do things that he wouldn’t normally do.

    The characters of Fortinbras and Hamlet are very much parallel. I believe that Fortinbras is an important character whose purpose is to justify the actions of Hamlet, with his revenge, as Fortinbras has also lost his father and is seeking revenge. In order for the reader to gain a better understanding of Hamelts actions the fact that multiple characters are experiencing the same thing show that he isn’t the only one.

  17. When Hamlet states, “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy,” he is attempting to reconcile his part in Polonius’ death. He wishes for Laertes to know that he did not purposefully kill his father. Hamlet, in this line, is referring to the revenge he seeks on King Claudius for the murder of his father. Hamlet does not wish to make an enemy out of Laertes, and is attempting to blame the murder of Polonius on his madness. His remark is not true in the regard that he killed Polonius out of madness. Hamlet thought that Polonius was actually King Claudius and knew what he was doing when he stabbed his sword into the curtain. However, he is true in saying that his intentions were not to harm Polonius, and that it was an accident.

    I think that Fortinbras serves only to highlight the aspects of Hamlet’s personality. While Fortinbras is the foil of Hamlet, both characters are avenging their fathers’ deaths. Fortinbras wants to attack Denmark in order to get revenge on Hamlet’s father. However, Hamlet is not quick to act with passion, and is very passive in his actions. Fortinbras’ tendencies to act recklessly and passionately serve to highlight Hamlet’s lack of bravery. I do not think that Fortinbras is a valuable character because he is directly the opposite of Hamlet, serving to present his flaws. Hamlet’s desire to be like Fortinbras also shows his inability to act impulsively. Hamlet sulks and often views things philosophically, while Fortinbras takes action without indecision. His character serves to demonstrate Hamlet’s weak nature and indecisiveness. Therefore I do not think he is valuable on his own because he starkly contrasts Hamlet, serving to point out his flaws.

  18. Hamlet’s motivation behind the comment “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” is to protect himself from conflict with Laertes and the possibility of death. By this comment Hamlet means to tell Laertes that his madness is what made him kill Laertes’ father and that he didn’t truly mean to kill him. Hamlet thought by saying this he could avoid death and conflict.

    Hamlet and Fortinbras are both avenging their fathers’ murders but they go about doing so differently. Fortinbras is trying to avenge his father’s murder forcefully. Hamlet’s father, who killed Fortinbras’ father, took Fortinbras’ land, which he wants back. Hamlet’s uncle killed Hamlet’s father so Hamlet is trying to make his uncle feel guilty. Hamlet and Fortinbras are both trying to bring honor to their fathers, but choose to do it differently.

    Fortinbras serves mainly to highlight Hamlet’s personality because Fortinbras had the abilty to to achieve what Hamlet could not. Fortinbras becomes the leader of his country and Hamlet didn’t get the chance to do so.

  19. Hamlet’s remark regarding his own madness being his enemy was given in an attempt to clarify the motivation behind his vengeful actions. This reference to his madness, however, does not act as an acknowledgement of mental instability, but as an acceptance of his own plotting and cunning actions in the name of exacting revenge on the murderous Claudius. However, it is true that his mad actions act as his enemy, since his initial inaction leads to his downfall. Like Fortinbras, Hamlet harnesses his rage and betrayal to eventually overthrow the king who has done him wrong. However, unlike Fortinbras, Hamlet takes less drastic action, choosing instead to expose Claudius before killing him. Fortinbras, in contrast, took immediate drastic action to reclaim the land wrongfully lost by the kingdom of Norway. While both rightful kings were wronged, they chose different courses of action to avenge their families and personal honor. For this reason, Fortinbras is a valuable character of his own accord, due to his swift action in his search for revenge. He does compliment Hamlet, and serves as his opposing foil in regard to highlighting Hamlet’s intensity and desire for revenge. However, his own course of action, to personally reclaim the lands lost by his father in order to pay him homage, depicts him as a strong character in and of himself. Though Hamlet’s intentions were passionate and eventually effective in avenging Old Hamlet, his mental instability did not serve as the driving force behind his action, but rather his determination and lust for justice.

  20. Hamlet’s motivation in declaring that “his madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy,” is to provide a scapegoat to blame his actions upon, primarily killing Polonius. However while it was a mistake killing Polonius he was no mad at the times as he had hoped the person he had struck down was the king. Fortinbras is not an important charecter to the plot. He does not drive the plot forward in anyway he merely is used to show a different more direct route to enacting revenge. While Hamlet has to prove the Kings guilt and does not kill him when he has multiple opertunities to do so, Fortinbras merely challenges Hamlet to a duel the first oppertunity he has.

  21. Hamlet was saying that because most people decided he was mentally insane, the assumption that he was insane and the people that made these assumptions were his true enemies. This was an attempt to insult these enemies as well as their false assumptions. Hamlet and Fortinbras were opposites in this play in that although both of them lost their fathers, Hamlet was much more slow to act and thought things out much more than Fortinbras did. Fortinbras acted upon impulse and wanted to attack Denmark solely for the revenge of his father, not weighing the potential risks. He also decided to attack Poland with little to no reason, saying “(Poland) hath no profit in it but the name.” This statement showed how impulsive he truly was. Hamlet was much slower to act on his feelings and thought things through thoroughly to make sure they were for the best. Fortinbras was an important character because he both highlighted Hamlet’s characteristics, but he also ended up being appointed to be the next king of Denmark.

  22. Hamlet’s motivation was to try and calm Laertes down and apologize. Hamlet was not actually insane he was just faking it as part of his elaborate revenge scheme. The remark about Hamlet’s madness being why he killed Polonius is false due to the fact that Hamlet was completely in control of himself when he killed Polonius. Fortinbras is a foil for Hamlet because while Hamlet went about his revenge in a very scheming manner, Fortinbras marched his army directly to take over Denmark. Fortinbras is headstrong and goes about his revenge directly, which highlights the fact that Hamlet is emotionally unstable, and hesitant to take his revenge at some points because he tends to think things through. Fortinbras is not an important character and his only purpose is to highlight Hamlet’s personality.

  23. Hamlet’s motivation behind the comment “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” was simply to state how Hamlet’s extreme emotions and actions are what essentially lead to his downfall. It is his tragic flaw. During that little speech he is giving to Laertes before they duel, he is basically using his madness as a scapegoat for all of his wrong-doings. This includes killing Laertes’ father, Polonius. Hamlet’s madness makes him take things to the extreme: he went as far as to set up an entire play based on the death of his father just to see if his uncle would react to it. His agenda at that point was to kill his uncle in order to complete his revenge. But, his madness played in another factor when he had his first opportunity to kill him. Hamlet changed his mind at the last second and decided he wanted to kill the king during a sinful act so that his soul is “damned and black as hell.” If he killed the king at that moment, things would not have escalated and he may have lived.
    Fortinbras is definitly not a valuable character to the plot of the play. Not only is he barely in the story at all, but his character traits were barely realized in the plot. He and Hamlet are similar because they are both princes with a dead father. However, Fortinbras is a bit more of a warring prince than Hamlet. He manages to highlight Hamlet’s character at the end once Hamlet is dead. He honors his death by having soldiers fire off shots while proclaiming him “royal” and “like a soldier.”

  24. Hamlet states “his madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” in order to avoid the duel with Laertes. Although he tells Horatio that God controls everything and what happens is because God wanted it to, Hamlet is actually frightened by the thought of dueling with Laertes. Hamlet is trying to separate himself from his acts of insanity by speaking of himself in the third person. He tries to explain to Laertes that his own madness is at fault, not himself and attempts to apologize to Laertes by saying that he himself would not wrong Laertes only his insanity. Although everyone else in the castle believes him to be mad, Hamlet has to convince Laertes too, even though Hamlet knows himself that he is not actually mad, but extremely angry and distraught.

    Hamlet and Fortinbras have both lost their fathers and are desperately trying to seek revenge. Hamlet seeks to kill his father’s murderer while Fortinbras wants to attack the land that his father lost. Hamlet admires Fortinbras’s boldness and passionate behavior, he wishes he could act this way and regrets not murdering Claudius when he had the chance. Hamlet and Fortinbras are foils because they both lost their fathers who were the previous kings, and now their uncles have taken the throne instead of themselves. Fortinbras is not a strong character on his own, but is a foil to Hamlet making his purpose in the book to highlight Hamlet’s personality.

  25. Hamlet’s motivation behind the phrase “His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy” is to illustrate how all of the death and betrayal that he has dealt with throughout the play has finally taken its toll on his sanity. With both the loss of his love Ophelia and the murder of Polonius weighing down on him, he can no longer tolerate it. During each act, Hamlet has undergone an experience that pushes him to the edge, all starting with the discovery of how his father truly died. I believe that madness is Hamlet’s own enemy because it is the one thing that keeps him from making rational decisions and eventually leads to his own mortality; essentially, Hamlet is in the way of himself. Fortinbras and Hamlet are similar in how they both seek to avenge the death of a loved one. However each character goes about doing so in a different way; where Fortinbras is avenging for pure honor for his family, Hamlet is only out to seek revenge on all those responsible for the death of his father. I think that Fortinbras is there for the purpose of highlighting the extreme characteristics of Hamlet and his steep mental decline. Since Fortinbras is only ever present a handful of times throughout the play, I do not see his character being stable enough to stand on its own. His personality and actions are there to emphasize those of Hamlet, who is a much more irrational and compulsive character. In the end, Fortinbras is not as valuable as Hamlet, due to his lack of impact on the surrounding characters.

  26. Hamlet’s motivation behind this comment is that he is avoiding the conflict that he is about undergo with Laertes. The reasoning behind the planned duel is because of the death of Polonius. Or rather, Hamlet killing him. However, Hamlet states this in order to blame the death of Polonius on his madness and to attempt to avoid the duel with Laertes. Hamlet is trying to blame the death on his insanity and not his own actions. I do not believe this statement to be true because Hamlet is acting as if he is mad, when it is all false. Hamlet and Fortinbras are very similar characters in multiple aspects, yet their differences cause their successes. Both Hamlet and Fortinbras lost their fathers, so through the anguish they felt, they both came up with plans that would honor their fathers. Hamlet differs from Fortinbras because he seeks revenge upon his uncle for murdering his father, while Fortinbras merely wants to take back the land that was rightfully his, and before him, his father’s. Fortinbras is a valuable character, however, he highlights aspects of Hamlet that other characters do not. He is as noble and honorable as Hamlet, yet seeks a way to honor his father in a more substantial way.

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