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Hamlet, Laertes, And Fortinbras

            Although they share an overwhelming desire to avenge their father’s death, Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras are three distinct characters, each possessing motivation unique to their personality. Mysteriously intertwined with one another, these three men cross paths as they seek revenge on their father’s assassin. In Bevington’s introduction of Hamlet, the rationale behind each man’s philosophy and tactics are discussed as well as contrasted in order to reveal an interesting perception of Hamlet’s passivity.
             Though he is the son of the King of Norway, Fortinbras is forced to give the crown up to his uncle when the king is killed in battle. Displeased with this situation, Fortinbras decides that if cannot have his father’s kingdom, then he will conquer one of his own. “Fortinbras of Norway, as his name implies (“strong in arms”), is one who believes in decisive action” (Bevington 529). He is determined to conquer through bloodshed and battle and has no concern for the lives and wealth that will be lost for such a vain victory. .
             Like Hamlet, Fortinbras is overwhelmed with the desire for glory and vengeance. Although the two men share desire to avenge their father’s death as well as the loss of their royal crown, they differ in their rationale. Hamlet admires Fortinbras’ passion to the point where he berates himself for his inaction, but he also questions Fortinbras’ reason “to gain a little patch of ground/ That hath in it no profit but the name.” With his father’s murder to avenge, Hamlet cannot relate to such an empty motivation. “The soldiers will risk their lives even for an eggshell” (4.4. 19-54). The two men have both lost their crown to an uncle and their fathers to a violent death, yet the difference in one’s strategy for revenge is incredibly distinct from the other.