The Prince of Norway. A young leader motivated to conquer foreign lands, make a name for himself, and avenge his father’s death at the hands of Hamlet’s own father, Fortinbras is Hamlet’s opposite in every way. Fortinbras’s actions—heard of consistently throughout the play, even though Fortinbras himself is not seen on stage until the final act—serve as barbed reminders to Hamlet of his own stultifying inaction.
Fortinbras Character Timeline in Hamlet
The timeline below shows where the character Fortinbras appears in Hamlet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
...the castle. He talks of how the deceased King Hamlet killed the King of Norway, Fortinbras, in a duel—which meant that, according to an agreement between the kings, Denmark absorbed certain... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
...Gertrude and become the new king. He tells the court that he is aware of Fortinbras’s designs on Denmark but is not planning on kowtowing to the Norwegians’ demands—Claudius is determined... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Act 4, Scene 4
...revenge.” Men who don’t think and act are no better than beasts, he believes. Seeing Fortinbras exercise “divine ambition” in commanding and leading a massive army in pursuit of something so... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
...trumpets come through the door. Hamlet asks what’s happening. Osric enters and informs Hamlet that Fortinbras has returned successfully from Poland. Hamlet says, with his dying breath, that Fortinbras should be... (full context)