Hamlet's father, Old King Hamlet who he looked up to was recently killed, and his mother married his uncle within a month. He receives a visit from the ghost of his father which urges him to "revenge [Claudius'] foul and most unnatural murder" (I, v, 32) of Old Hamlet. It is only logical that under these circumstances, Hamlet would be under great duress, and it would not be abnormal for him to express grief. Fortnibra and Laertes also have to deal with the avenging their fathers' death.
Fortinbras and Laertes are parallel characters to Hamlet, and they provide critical points on which to compare the actions and emotions of Hamlet throughout the play. They are also important in Hamlet, as they are imperative to the plot of the play and the final resolution. Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras are three young men who are placed in similar circumstances, that is, to get revenge for their fathers' deaths. The way they each come to terms with their grief and how they rise to the call of vengeance is one of the main contrasts between the three.
Hamlet is the Renaissance man who is well rounded in all areas. He has a tremendous acting abilities, and he is a scholar who analyzes everything and is very philosophical, as was shown in his assessment of life in the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy. Hamlet's philosophical side is also brought to light in the prayer scene. At this point he has the opportunity to kill Claudius while he is attempting to repent. However,
Hamlet does not take that chance because he desires kill Claudius "when he is drunk asleep, or in his rage/ Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed," so that "his soul will be as damn'd and black/ As hell, wher...
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...nalyzed and executed as he planned. Fortinbras ability to act upon reason and not emotion is one of the most significant differences he has with Hamlet. Hamlet and Laertes represent the extremes of action. Fortinbras therefore, is the midpoint of the two extremes; his ability to reason and the act upon the reason has resulted in his possession of both lands and throne as he set out to avenge.
Adelman, Janet. 1985. 'Male Bonding in Shakespeare's Comedies.' In Shakespeare's Rough Magic: Renaissance Essays in Honor of C.L. Barber, edited by Peter Erickson and Coppélia Kahn. Cranbury and London: Associated University Presses, 73-103.
Boklund, Gunnar. "Hamlet." Essays on Shakespeare. Ed. Gerald Chapman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. T. J. B. Spencer. New York: Penguin, 1996.
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