Hamlet: the Nature of Men. is an essay wich shows Hamlets character through the contrast with Fortinbras Laertes and Horatio

Essay by JillsJunior High, 9th gradeA-, December 2002

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Hamlet: the Nature of Men

In the Shakespearean play Hamlet, Hamlet, the tragic hero is a very well developed character. Shakespeare elucidates his strengths and weaknesses by contrasting them with those of Fortinbras, Laertes and Horatio. Whereas Fortinbras is determined, Hamlet is indecisive; whereas Laertes is excused for gambling, drinking and whoring, Hamlet condemns any vice; whereas Horatio exhibits balanced behavior, Hamlet is torn between passion and reason. Through these contrasts Hamlet is able to grow and make wiser decisions, using these other men as examples of how, and how not, to act.

Fortinbras is the prince of Norway. His father was killed in a battle with Hamlet Sr., which resulted in a loss of lands. Fortinbras is determined to regain his fathers lands.

...young Fortinbras,

Holding a weak supposal of our worth,

Or thinking by our late dear brother's death

Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,

Colleagued with the dream of his advantage,

He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,

Importing the surrender of those lands

Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,

To our most valiant brother (1.2.17-25).

Fortinbras, sensing that with the death of the king Denmark would be disorganized, has demanded the surrender of the lands lost by his father. He is determined to regain his lands. In contrast Hamlet, who's father was also killed, and who also wants to avenge his father, sits idly by and watches the killer usurp his father's throne, unable to decide when or how to act against the killer.

'Swounds, I should take it: for it cannot be

But I am pigeon-liver'd and lack gall

To make oppression bitter, or ere this

I should have fatted all the region kites

With this slave's offal: bloody, bawdy villain!

Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous,