The Importance of Fortinbras

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In many plays there is a central character who believes that something is rightfully theirs. In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the character Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, is portrayed as this central character hoping to reclaim the land Denmark that his father lost in battle to Hamlet Sr. Fortinbras is also characterized as Hamlet’s enemy and throughout the play he tries to gain advantage over Hamlet. In Franco Zeffirelli’s movie version of Hamlet, Fortinbras is not present in the movie at all. Since Zeffirelli did not include the scenes with Fortinbras, the question brought to viewers is why this character is so carelessly left out of the movie. By leaving Fortinbras out of the movie Hamlet, an element of contention and collation between himself and Hamlet is absent that is present in the play. In the play, the background stories of Fortinbras and Hamlet are similar. Both of their uncles are king, when the rightful throne should be theirs; however, the two princes deal with the aftermath differently. While Fortinbras deals by going out and conquering other countries, Hamlet distracts himself with thinking and plotting against Claudius. In Hamlet's soliloquy in Act 4, he compares and contrasts the differences between himself and Fortinbras. Hamlet explains that he would be more like Fortinbras with his actions. Witness this army of such mass and charge/ Led by a delicate and tender prince,/ Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed/ Makes mouths at the invisible event,/ Exposing what is mortal and unsure/ To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,/ Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great/ Is not to stir without great argument,/ But greatly to find quarrel in a straw/ When honor’s at the stake. BLOCK QUOTATION Hamlet a... ... middle of paper ... ... he believes is rightfully his. Fortinbras also serves as the equal to Hamlet and whose actions are compared to those of Hamlet’s as how Hamlet should behave. The young Prince of Norway is known for is conquest in countries and also for what he hopes to accomplish in the end. At the end of the play, when the royal family collapses and Hamlet is dead, Fortinbras is the character who receives the crown. Without this element in the movie, who could take over the helpless land and been able to keep it together and successfully rule the kingdom? Only Fortinbras is the prime choice to rule this kingdom because of his clear motive, direction, and his will to succeed. Works Cited Hamlet. Dir. Franco Zeffirelli. Perf. Mel Gibson and Glenn Close. 1990. Warner Bros., 2004. DVD. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. A. R. Braunmuller. New York: Penguin Group Inc.,2001. Print.
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