The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0934 Monday, 1 May 2000.
Date: Friday, 28 Apr 2000 21:17:12 +0000
David Bishop and I have had an enlightening (for me, anyway) exchange of
e-mails off-list. While we do not agree about the putative motivation of
Fortinbras at the beginning of the play, I think that David (and others)
might agree with the following: the business of the play is to guide
young Hamlet from revenging his father's death to avenging it. And the
guide for doing so may well be the actions of Fortinbras AFTER (maybe
before?) he is chastised by his uncle, Old Norway. If so, then there is
a delicious irony here, since Claudius is the agent whereby Fortinbras
finally takes proper action and ALSO whereby Hamlet properly avenges his
father without committing the sin (if it is one) of revenge.
Food for thought.