Fortinbras is a character in William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. He is the Prince of Norway and serves as a foil to the main character, Hamlet. Although Fortinbras has a relatively small role in the play, his presence is significant as it highlights the themes of revenge and ambition.
Fortinbras is introduced in Act 1, Scene 2 when he crosses paths with Hamlet's friend, Horatio. Horatio informs Fortinbras about the recent death of the Danish king and the political turmoil in Denmark. Upon learning this, Fortinbras sees an opportunity to reclaim the lands that his father lost in a previous battle with King Hamlet. This ambition drives his actions throughout the play.
Fortinbras' ambition is evident in his determination to take back the lands lost by his father. He gathers an army and plans to invade Denmark. This mirrors the revenge plot of Hamlet, who seeks to avenge his father's murder. However, while Hamlet hesitates and delays his revenge, Fortinbras is decisive and takes immediate action.
Fortinbras' ambition is also contrasted with the characters in the Danish court. The Danish court is plagued by political intrigue, corruption, and indecisiveness. Fortinbras, on the other hand, is portrayed as a strong and capable leader. His ambition serves as a stark contrast to the weakness and ineffectiveness of the Danish court.
In Act 4, Scene 4, Fortinbras' army passes through Denmark on their way to Poland. Hamlet encounters the Norwegian soldiers and is struck by their willingness to fight for a small piece of land. This encounter prompts Hamlet to reflect on his own lack of action and his obsession with revenge. He admires Fortinbras' determination and sees him as a reflection of what he could have been.
Fortinbras' ultimate victory in the play symbolizes the triumph of ambition and action over indecisiveness and inaction. While Hamlet's tragic flaw leads to his downfall, Fortinbras' ambition brings him success. He serves as a reminder of the consequences of inaction and the power of ambition.
In conclusion, Fortinbras is a minor character in Hamlet but plays a significant role in highlighting the themes of ambition and revenge. His decisive nature and unwavering ambition serve as a contrast to the indecisiveness and weakness of the Danish court. Fortinbras' ultimate victory symbolizes the triumph of action over inaction and serves as a reminder of the consequences of failing to pursue one's ambitions.