Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Analysis of Act IV, Scene 4

This brief scene returns the play’s focus to the theme of human action. It reminds the audience that Fortinbras exists, a fact that will become significant in later scenes, and it reinforces the idea that Hamlet’s key flaw is his inability to act decisively. Although Hamlet is impressed with Fortinbras’s actions, he seems to miss the point: when he vows to focus on revenge, he states, “My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth.” His focus is still on his thoughts rather than his deeds.

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