The secondary plot of the story refers to the events that are taking place in Denmark in addition to those of the main plot. At times the secondary plot supplements the main plot of the story by providing a sense of urgency and becomes the subject of Dialogue in parts of the play. The secondary plot concerns the events surrounding Demark itself as well as the Norwegians, rather than the events that surround Hamlet.
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Acts 1 and 2
- In the beginning Norway has been defeated by Demark in war under the Leadership of King Hamlet who slayed the leader of Norway, King Fortinbras.
- After the death of King Hamlet, Denmark appears to be preparing for war again. This causes the people of Denmark to become uneasy. This is shown through Horiatis speech in Act1 scene 1.
- “This bodes some strange eruption to our state” (1. 1. 69)
- Horatio also thinks that young Fortinbras is “of unimproved metal, hot and full” (1.1.96). He is taking young Fortinbras for a young fool.
- The King sends a messenger to Fortinbras to deal with young Fortinbras and his apparent aggression to Denmark.
- Upon hearing of this, Old Fortinbras, the Uncle of Young Fortinbras reprimands his nephew he “sends out arrests on Fortinbras, which he in brief obeys, Receives rebuke from Norway” (2.2.67).
- After this reprimand Young Fortinbras promises never to use force against the Danes and his uncle, so pleased with this gives him leave to attack Poland with the Army that he had built up.
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- After Conquering Poland young Fortinbras comes to Denmark to meet with the King along with some ambassadors from England.
- He comes to find the bloody aftermath of the Kings plot to kill Hamlet which went awry and has cost more lives including that of King Claudius.
- Fortinbras thinks that slaughtering has taken place in the palace.
- The English ambassador that had come with Fortinbras had come to let the king know that his commandment was complete and that Rosencrantz as well as Guildenstern were dead.
- Fortinbras shows that he has respect for Hamlet who is the king of Denmark now that King Claudius is dead. “Let four captains Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage, For he was likely, had he been put on, To have proved most royal” (5.2.385)
- Fortinbras at this point in the story appears to be a level headed man as well as calm. Unlike Hamlet and Laertes who prove themselves to be hot-headed and rash with their actions.