What thematic significance does Fortinbras serve in Hamlet?
He illustrates the principle that while one may get distracted by one’s own suffering, there will always be opportunists willing to step in and take over; one man’s tragedy is another man’s opportunity.
He reinforces the notion that the world is full of ambitious people who will dominate when given the opportunity, and such bold individuals make the most able leaders.
He demonstrates the truth that one should not be deterred by the suffering of others, but should charge ahead unblinkingly and remain true to one’s purpose, regardless of the detrimental impact of one’s actions on others.
He reveals the sad reality that often, just because a man is born into power, this does not mean that he possesses strong leadership qualities, and stronger leaders need to root out the weak and replace them.
He illustrates the idea that the pursuit of revenge will have a beneficial outcome if one is dogged and belligerent enough to see it through to its turbulent end.