Fortinbras: The Conquering of a Nation

Dramatis Personae

Fortinbras. prince of Norway, and leader of Norwegian Army

Jonacin. friend to Fortinbras, and Leiutenant in Norwegian Army

Old Norway. king of Norway

Jesper. member of Norwegian High Council

Helena. daughter to Jesper

Captain Onus. captain in Norwegian Army

Hamlet. prince of Denmark

Horatio. friend to Hamlet

Claudius. king of Denmark

Gertrude. queen of Denmark

Osric. Danish courtier

A Soldier.

English Ambassadors.

Norwegian Soldiers.

A Director.

ACT I

(Six men sit surrounding a table. One is Fortinbras, Nephew to the King of Norway. Beside him is his best friend, Lieutenant Jonacin. Also around the table are four other soldiers, one being the Captain.)

Fortinbras: Then there is no confusion, we’ll head off after three nights have passed. We have a battle to fight - a battle our opposition doesn’t know is coming. All plans are in place, and all are ready. It’s only a matter of time before Denmark is ours.

(Soldiers depart, leaving Fortinbras and Jonacin)

Jonacin: Do you think our army will be able to handle the great Danish fleet?

Fortinbras: We have spent months carefully planning this attack. There is no way we can be defeated. I have complete confidence in our men’s abilities. Don’t you?

Jonacin: Yes, Prince, I do. However, the Danish have been known as being very unpredictable. What if they catch us completely off guard?

Fortinbras: And what if they just let us walk right in and take control without a fight, lying there, already dead before we can reach them? Anything could happen, my good friend, but I have faith that Norway will triumph. Besides, I had a dream last night where I wore a crown twice the size of mine. It must mean that Norway will hold the power over two nations.

Jonacin: Perhaps it means that you have LOST power, and that although the crown appears twice the size, you are in fact half the size.

For: Always the pessimist. Ever since I met you, back in our schooldays, you’ve been nothing but negative and pessimistic. It’s a surprise you and I have stayed friends this long!

Jon: Yes, I know. You owe me much gratitude.

For: I owe YOU gratitude? Ha! I have got you through so much over the years. Do you think you are Lieutenant because you are a “brilliant fighter” and are “remarkably strategic”?

Jon: No -- there are many more reasons as well, such as my cunning wit, not to mention my striking good looks.

(Fortinbras bursts into laughter. Jonacin looks at him, unimpressed)

For: You’ve always made me laugh. Perhaps Court Jester would have been a better title for you.

Jon: I fought hard to get to where I am today.

For: Indeed you did. You fought very hard, of course quite unsuccessfully, I might add. Luckily, you are the best friend to the Prince, and thus are -

Jon: This is a disgrace. I should just resign my post now!

For: What good would that do for either of us? You would be jobless and I would be without a Lieutenant. Besides, we are on the forefront of a glorious conquering of Denmark.

Jon: Speaking of Denmark, what do you think of the death of their long serving King, Hamlet, and his brother’s appointment as new King?

For: Well, because of it, I did not even have to avenge my father’s death by that man, as fate did the deed for me. Now is the perfect time to move forward, I would think, as the country is in disarray at the sudden shift in power. The new King believes we will simply be a pushover. He sent a message to us, brought by Ambassadors, saying that none of Norway’s demands will be met and to stop “pestering” Denmark. Well, their King will not see what is coming. We are more powerful than they can possibly imagine. It is the perfect situation for us to attack. Perfect...

Jon: Ah, you are quite intelligent. For this reason, I will stay as Lieutenant.

For: (with a confused look on his face) What do you mean?? I’m sorry to say, but that’s no reason to stay as Lieutenant... You make no sense.

Jon: So first you want me here, then you don’t, now I make no sense? I think it is you that makes no sense.

For: Whatever you say, Jonacin, whatever you say.

Jon: That’s right, whatever I say. I am Jonacin, Lieutenant in the Norwegian Army.

For: And I am Young Fortinbras, Prince of Norway.

Jon: You most certainly are.

(Both exit)

(Fortinbras and several other men, including Jonacin and Captain Onus, are gathered around a large wall map of Denmark, Poland, and Norway)

For: We have been told to hold back by Norway himself, as he has accepted the Danish King’s plea, but I will not back down now. I have put too much time, effort, and heart into this operation. My father would want me to continue, to take what he lost before us. We will go through - we will defeat Denmark.

Captain: You are sure it is wise, to go ahead with this? You remember that Denmark has a larger army than us, and in the past, more bodies have proven victory. We don’t want to go on a suicide mission.

For: I will not be killed, nor will any of you. They do not expect anything and will be caught off guard. As far as they are concerned, we are passing through to attack Poland. What they do not know is the remarkable size of the fleet we are bringing, and that we are going to conquer them. Believe me, it will be an easy victory for Norway. I will not die in battle like my father.

Jon: You heard him. We will fight for Norway, and for Old Fortinbras! We will be victorious!

(Cheers from all)

For: (pointing to map) After five days of travel, we shall arrive at this point in Danish territory. From there, it is less than a day’s travel to Elsinore. Even if they notice us coming by this time, it will be too late. They do not have the capabilities to allow them to reach us with an entire army in time. Captain, you and I will go forward and warn any travelers or keepers of the pastures that there will be a war fought on those plains. In one week’s time, Denmark will be ours. You may go now, but be back at sunrise, as we leave early.

(All leave, except Jonacin and Fortinbras)

Jon: How long do you expect us gone?

For: Well, I said that in one weeks' time, Denmark shall be ours. It was in a figurative sense, as I’m assuming they will give us some sort of fight. I say that we’ll have control of the castle in twenty days. Another five days of travel homeward, and that would be twenty-five days, by my calculations.

Jon: I counted twenty-six.

For: How is it you added twenty to five and came out with twenty-six.

Jon: Well, I figured we’d spend a day there to relax, take a break, and take a look at what exactly we have conquered.

For: Why on earth would we bother with that?

Jon: Well, good friend, Fun’s my middle name. Well, Funner is, but you get the picture.

For: YOU are the man I made Lieutenant!? (mumbling) God, help us all. (aloud) We will not be including a day of relaxation.

Jon: But -

For: No, we must get back immediately, as to announce our victory to Norway. Besides, Helena will have waited long enough.

Jon: Oh, so you’re coming back for a woman. I see.

For: No. I’m coming back for Norway. I’m just going to see her when I do get back.

Jon: I thought she decided there was no time for a relationship, what with you trying to conquer a country and all.

For: WE decided that, but there is always time for Helena. (dazed) I mean, her hair is so flowing and glorious. Her eyes are like diamonds in the sky, more beautiful than the stars. Her skin is even smoother than silk, and her body is that of a divine creature, one too beautiful for mortals to comprehend.

(Jonacin snaps his fingers)

Jon:Ah, Fortinbras?She’s just a woman - a woman who apparently wants nothing to do with the Prince of Norway.

For: Oh, she will, once I am ruler of Denmark. She will want everything to do with me.

Jon: I would not be so sure of myself, if I were you. You have always been a “Man’s Man”, the great soldier, but you have never quite been the ladies man. If I do recall grade-school -

For: Enough! It is not like you have much to say for yourself. One woman in twenty-three years is certainly no accomplishment.

Jon: Ah, but that woman was with me for five of those years, which is more than you can boast.

For: You are disgracing the Prince of Norway! Helena will be mine, you will see. She is -

(A knock at the door)

For: Come in.

(Helena enters, with her father Jesper, and the King of Norway, Uncle to Fortinbras)

For: Ah, what a pleasant surprise. To what do I owe it?

King: Well, Fortinbras, it is nice to see you, too. I have been thinking about your plans to go ahead with the mission.

For: I was talking to fair Lady Helena. However, since your conceit has started this conversation, what have your thoughts concluded?

King: I have decided that you are making the right decision, and you have the King’s approval to forward with the plans.

For: Oh, really? (With sarcasm)How wonderful - but I don't need, nor do I care about your approval. The troops were to depart tomorrow morning regardless. However, thank-you for your blessing.

Helena: Do you think you will win the Polack wars?

Jesper: It should not concern you, Helena. You are a lady of class, and matters of government and military actions should not concern you, nor be explained to you.

Helena: I was just wondering...

For: Your father is right, it does not have anything to do with you. Regardless, I will return within thirty days. I hope you will be expecting me.

Helena: I don’t -

Jon: Didn’t you say it would be twenty-five days, Fortinbras? If there’s no time for one day of relaxation, how can there be time for five?

King: You plan on taking some sort of vacation once the mission is complete?You need to rest?

For: No, he was referring -

Jon: Well, I thought it would be nice to take one day, but apparently Fortinbras thinks five would be in order.

King: There will be no time to give yourself a break! Once control is taken, there are many other important matters that will be at hand.You will have to return immediately.You do understand that, don't you?

For: I didn’t say that -

Jesper: Why don’t we leave them to deal with their family disagreements, darling. You will see them when they return in, what was it, thirty days?

For: Twenty-five.

Jon: Twenty-six.

King: It doesn’t matter.... (Helena and Jesper quietly exit) The point is, once Denmark is conquered, you will return to Norway at once. No questions asked.

For: I know. That was the plan.I was rounding off!For the love of God, I was just rounding off!!!!

King: Say what you will, it’s an order. You are not King, Fortinbras, only Prince. Don’t let your mind fool you.

For: My father would have made me King.You know it, I know it, and the entire country of Norway knows it.

King: Your father wasn’t around to do so.I was in line.Just don’t get yourself killed against the Danes like he did, and maybe you’ll be King eventually.

For: I will be the ruler of two nations. You will see.

Jon: And I will be his best friend, the Lieutenant.

King: Once you stop dreaming like little children, the truth will be clearer to you, and you might have a chance against Denmark. Until then, I pray to God that their army is not as large as it has been in the past - for our country’s sake and yours.

(King exits)

Jon: I think that went well.

For: You think it went.... Good heaven’s!What were you listening to? (shakes head) It doesn’t matter now anyway. We have his support, and tomorrow we will leave to defeat a nation. My crown will indeed be larger.

Jon: Or you will be smaller.

For: Larger! The crown will be larger! Trust me on that!

(exit)

ACT II

(Fortinbras enters, with the Captain and other members of the army, wearing a huge gold crown that he can barely support on his head. Outside it is dawn)

Captain: May I ask you a question, Sir?

For: Yes, Captain, but make it quick. We gather in less than an hour to head to the Danish capital.

Captain: I ask you, Prince Fortinbras, why do you have such an odd-looking... thing... on your head?

For: It is a personal matter, my good Captain. Now, we will be off in no time.

Captain: But Sir, don’t you think the weight of THAT will hold us back slightly?

For: You imbecile! I will not wear it while we travel. Only until I see Jonacin. As I said, it is a personal matter.

Soldier: Will we when... um... when we... er... when will we arrive in... um... at... er... Denmark?

For: Stop.

(All characters freeze - a “director” comes on stage)

For: Where did you get this idiot?

Director: A local high school. We wanted to give an up-and-coming actor a chance, and they said it was their best student, a future professional actor for sure!

For: May I ask which high school?

Director: Sturgeon Creek Collegiate.

For: That makes sense! Oh well, it will have to do. (snaps) Continue!(Characters move again - director exits stage)

In answer to your question, we will arrive on the Danish plains in five days, and will be in the capital in six. There's no need to thank me, just go tell the others OFF STAGE. Go... Go!

(Soldiers leave)

Captain: That was rather harsh, don’t you think?

For: Not at all. I am the Prince of Norway, and I am in control.

Captain: I see. On another subject, you had mentioned something earlier about you and I going on ahead, once we reach the plains?

For: Yes, we must warn any innocent travelers that there will be a battle to be taking place, and a country conquered.

Captain: That would be a wise thing to do. We wouldn’t want Denmark to be taken completely off guard!! Have you thought about how, perhaps, we’d be informing one of THEIR men?Keep in mind, as far as they are concerned, we are passing through quietly on our way to the Polack wars.

For: If you were a member of the Danish Monarchy or the Military, would you wander the fields aimlessly?

Captain: As a Dane, yes, I believe I would be very aimless. They are not the most intelligent people, you know.

For: Don’t let your disgust for the people of Denmark get in the way of proper battle planning. The answer is no. Innocent people must not be hurt. We are not some all-powerful nation of “united states” that would go around injuring innocent civilians in an attempt to achieve a goal, one that could be achieved in a much less barbaric way.

Captain: I see, Sir, and concur.

(Enter Jonacin, with the King and Helena)

Jon: I told Helena that you wished to see her before we left.

For: But I never... I mean, hello, fine Helena. I just wanted to say good-bye, and am looking forward to returning to see you once again.

Helena: (frustrated) That is all you wanted me for? I came all the way from my home to the Palace so that you can say good-bye? Well, Fortinbras, this certainly puts everything into perspective. I am just a servant at your will, I see, and from this day on, that is what I will stay.Nothing more.I wish you a fond farewell, and may luck be on your side. Good day, Sir.

(Helena exits)

Jon: I think that went quite well.

For: (look of disgust) Yes, that’s exactly what I gathered out of that wonderful conversation.

King: Are all the men ready?

For: Yes, they are. We are about ready to depart.

King: Good. May the luck of your father be with you.

For: My father never had luck. If he did, it was only of the bad kind.

King: So be it, then. I now bid you, adieu.

(King exits)

Jon: I will go prepare the soldiers. We will be victorious. I believe we will be victorious!

(Jonacin exits)

For: May my father’s luck never enter my mind or my body. For, though I loved and cared for him deeply, a noble leader I never thought of him as. From a single branch, fallen from a single tree, he died like no leader before him - by complete accident and without any honour at all. Fortunately, only I knew of this dishonourable death. His legacy as a warrior, who lost his life in battle, will live on. However, I must, for myself and for my people, defeat Denmark and give the name I share with my father its true dignity. As for God, I ask you to guide me through this, as my name and country, as well as my life, is on the line. My father lacked your guidance, but I beg of you to grant it to me. If I should not survive this mighty challenge, my soul will never find peace. This is the most important time of your life, Young Fortinbras of Norway. This is your defining moment of character. You have the support of your people, and even of your uncle, the King. (Pause, pondering) But do I have the support of myself? Am I making the right decision? Yes. Yes I am. For in a short period of time, I will be the King of Denmark, and soon the King of Norway, and my people will look to me with great prestige and glory. I will be King, even if it ends up as the bloodiest, most barbaric, and most difficult battle ever fought.

(Fortinbras exits)

(On a large, hilly plain. The Army of Norway is on its way to Elsinore. The pack is led by Fortinbras, followed closely by the Captain and Jonacin, all on horses. Fortinbras stops, as does all that follow him)

For: My horse is becoming tired. We shall take a short break here.

Captain: Do you believe this is a good idea? Will we still be on schedule?

For: We will still be on schedule, it will only be a short rest. For a battle, is it not better to have a rested horse rather than a tired one?

Captain: You are right again, Sir. I apologize for my lack of trust.

For: That is okay, Captain. Could you go tell the men why we have stopped?

Captain: Yes, Sir, right away.

(The Captain leaves the front of the pack, making his way around the Army)

Jon: You know, I had a thought. This battle - this war we are about to embark upon - could result in the loss of so many of our men, that even if we are victorious, we shall be hit just as hard as Denmark. Whoever the victor may be, we will still have much to mourn, I believe. Don’t you?

For: That is one of the most intelligent, and the most accurate statements you have probably ever made. Yes, Jonacin, I do believe that this could be a loss, even if we attain victory. However, it is something that must be done. It is something my father started, and I must finish. I am a soldier, a warrior at heart. I live for battle, and I battle to live.

Jon: You battle to live? Are you in trouble, Prince? How is your health?

For: My health is fine, I just meant that fighting, for my country of course, is what keeps myself alive in spirit, as well as what keeps the people of Norway on my side. If I were a passive Prince, one who did not think war was sometimes necessary, I would not have the people’s support, and perhaps our country would have already been completely conquered. Do you understand?

Jon: So you’re healthy? That’s a relief. I wouldn’t want my best friend to be seriously ill.

For: Did everything I say just go through your head - in one ear and out the other?

Jon: No. Actually, it didn’t even go in one ear. I wasn’t listening to what you said after you told me you were healthy. All this “war” stuff doesn’t interest me.

For: What do you mean, doesn’t interest you? We have grown up together, Jonacin, and we have always shared an interest in military action, both historically and presently. I made you a Lieutenant in my army - the Norwegian Army! How can you say it doesn’t interest you?

Jon: It just doesn’t. It used to, I’ll admit, but lately I have been more concerned with my artistic side - music and poetry, to be more specific. I can’t say why my interest has changed. Perhaps it is because of overexposure to fighting and war. I just thought it was time for a change.

For: When were you going to tell ME that it was time for a change?

Jon: I don’t know, I just thought somehow the news would get to you.

For: Why? Who have you told?

Jon: Nobody. Why do you ask?

For: If you have told no one, how is it possible for the news to get to me?

Jon: I don’t know, I just thought it would. The important thing is that you know now.

For: Yes, and what a perfect time, too. On our way to a war against Denmark, perhaps the most important in our country’s history, and my Lieutenant decides to tell me he isn’t interested in the very thing we are about to do. GREAT timing!

Jon: Why thank you, I thought my timing was impeccable.

For: Impeccable? Impeccable!?! Completely thoughtless! Just plain stupid! We are about to go to war! Did you not think of that???

Jon: Now, now, Prince, don’t let your temper get the best of you. You always do, and it never gets you anywhere.

(The Captain returns to his place at the front of the travelling Army)

Captain: What is all the shouting about?

For: We are ready to go. Let’s begin our trek to Denmark.

Captain: But such a short rest?

For: It is what I say, and what I say is what we do. Let’s go.

Captain: Yes, Sir.

(The Army begins its move across the plains of Norway, exit)

(Fortinbras and the Captain enter. Soldiers enter, but in the distance)

For: We are now in Danish territory. It is only a short time before we fight and conquer. Now, as there appears to be nobody across this vast land of fields, we will begin our attack from a different angle to Elsinore. I will lead the soldiers on this new path, with Jonacin accompanying me. Now, good Captain.We will meet up with you, but first, you must do the most important feat of this operation. Go, from me greet the Danish King; tell him that by his license, Fortinbras craves the conveyance of a promised march over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous. If that his majesty would aught with us, we shall express our duty in his eye; and let him know so.

Captain: I will do it, my lord.

For: Go softly on.

(Fortinbras and the Norwegian Army exit. Hamlet enters, accompanied by Rozencrantz, Guildenstern, and others)

Hamlet: God sir, whose powers are these?

Captain: They are of Norway, sir.

Hamlet: How purposed, sir, I pray you?

Captain: Against some part of Poland.

Hamlet: Who commands them, sir?

Captain: The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.

Hamlet: Goes it against the main of Poland, sir, or for some frontier?

Captain: Truly to speak, and with no addition, we go to gain a little patch of ground that hath in it no profit but the name. To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it; nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole a ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.

Hamlet: Why then the Polack never will defend it.

Captain: Yes, it is already garrisoned.

Hamlet: Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats will not debate the question of this straw: This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace, that inward breaks, and shows no cause without why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.

Captain: God be with you, sir.

(All exit, the Captain in the opposite direction as the others)

ACT III

(Enter Fortinbras, Jonacin, and the Army of Norwegian soldiers, two days later. The view of the castle of Elsinore is in the far distance)

For: (To Jonacin) Take a look over there, in the distance. It is what will be our final conquest, the castle holding the rulers of Denmark. How wondrous will be our victory. All will be proud of us, and proud of me. I will have the full respect of the Norwegian people, including Helena herself. They will all love me, and she will love me.

Jon: You are so sure of yourself, and so sure that she will just give herself to the leader of a victorious nation. First of all, you’re not the leader. You are nephew to the throne. And if you don’t remember yourself, she wants nothing to do with you, especially because of your obsession with army tactics and such. Why would she be all over you after you doing something involving the very thing she doesn’t like about you?

For: Still the pessimist, Jonacin. Well, friend, I will have control over two nations, and I will get Helena. I will have her hand and my large crown. You’ll see... You’ll see...

Jon: You’re still hung up on that crown. Don’t tell me you kept that horrendous-looking thing you used to try to “convince” me you would be leader of two nations. You call ME the crazy one.

For: I don’t appreciate you putting me down. However, I’m a man, and I can certainly handle it. So I’ll forget you said anything. Now, Jonacin, I am asking you to lead the men forward towards the castle. I will stay back and wait for the Captain to return and tell me what the King said. We will both catch up with you.

Jon: Whatever you wish, Prince. My duty is to you.

(Jonacin and the other soldiers ride out of sight, leaving Fortinbras alone)

For: Ah, the sound of horses. Such a wondrous sound when leading the way to victory, but such a disenchanting noise when waiting at the hand of defeat. It is interesting how two things can have completely different meanings when looking from different perspectives. Perhaps that is the difference between Helena and I. I see the prospect of “us” to be amazing and perfect. She is in need of a man, and I am in need of a woman. She is gentle, and needs a strong man to protect her - one who is afraid of nothing. She needs a man who will be able to provide for her in many ways. I can do that. I am the Prince of Norway. She deserves royalty. Helena and I are a perfect match. But, she doesn't think so. She must see things from a different perspective.Despite me thinking she needs a strong man, maybe she is looking for a gentler man to understand her. That, I am not able to give to her, and she probably knows that. She might not care about royalty, or whether I win a war. She must cares about things that are completely different, things that are beyond me. That’s why she doesn’t want me. Then again, I could be wrong. Love is so confusing, especially unrequited love, which I now believe this must be. (Fortinbras sheds a tear) I cannot let my soldiers see me like this. It is a side I have never shown and never intend to show. A warrior is not sentimental. A warrior is not emotional, and if he is, the emotions are hatred, desire, and pride - nothing more. I am a warrior. It was passed down through my veins. My father fought, his father before him fought, as did his father before him. I do not need women. All I need is victory over Denmark, and it is so apparent that our victory is only a short time away, that my heart and soul will triumph in the only way it truly can. That is all a soldier needs - victory.

(The Captain enters, startling Fortinbras)

For: For a moment, I had forgotten I was waiting for you. How did things go, my good Captain?

Captain: Things were as they should have been. However, just after you left me to head to Elsinore, I met a few travelling men, one whom was asking me the purpose of our travels. I told him the exact thing I was to tell the King - that we were on our way to Poland, just passing through.

For: Did you know who it was?

Captain: No, my lord, I had no idea. Perhaps they were some travelling merchants, or just lost souls.I doubt we'll ever encounter them again.

For: And you’re sure they weren’t in your imagination?

Captain: Oh yes, Sir, they were as real as real can be. All of them were living, breathing human beings. They were very alive.

For: I see, well as long as they did not get in your way. What happened upon your arrival at the castle?

Captain: Well, Sir, I was greeted with much disregard. I only spoke to King Claudius for a few moments. He seemed preoccupied with other matters. But I told him that our plans were to pass through Denmark, around the capital, on our way to battle in Poland. He quickly accepted our query, and blessed the Hand of God upon us in our upcoming conquest.

For: So he does not suspect our attack, he is tied up with other matters, and he has blessed OUR army with the Hand of God. All is looking up from our point of view, isn’t it, my good Captain?

Captain: Why yes, Sir, it is. Well, except for us not being on schedule. You miscalculated the actual time it would take us for our travels. It is over two days travel to Elsinore from the stopping point. You had said it would only be one.

For: We have not made any trek through Denmark in years, and I guess I made a mistake. That is not important, though, as it appears we will take control much more easily than planned, if you are correct with your assessment of the King.

Captain: Oh, I am right. He was definitely uninterested in what was going on around him.

For: Excellent. They will not even suspect that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (Smiles) Something is rotten, all right, and we are at its core. But enough talk, we must catch up to the rest of our fleet. Jonacin is leading them towards the castle. I must rejoin them and take my place in their lead as we conquer. Young Fortinbras will not follow in his father’s footsteps. No. I have taken a different path, wiping out the one lacking success, and creating a new path for the Fortinbras name and for Norway.

Captain: Then on we go.

(The two men exit)

(The entire army of Norway - Fortinbras, Jonacin, Captain Onus, and all Norwegian soldiers - make their climb up to the castle gates. They fire their guns to warn of their arrival. Fortinbras goes through the gates, and enters the castle, ready to lay claim to the conquest of Denmark by Norway)

(Fortinbras enters to see the King and Queen of Denmark both dead, and Laertes and Hamlet bloody and lying dead on the ground. Horatio, Osric, and two English Ambassadors are also there, alive)

For: Where is this sight?

Horatio: What is it you would see? If aught of woe, or wonder, cease your search.

For: This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death, what feast is toward in thine eternal cell, that thou so many princes at a shot so bloodily hast struck?

Ambassador: The sight is dismal; and our affairs from England come too late: The ears are senseless that should give us hearing, to tell him his commandment is fulfilled, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead: Where should we have our thanks?

Horatio: Not from his mouth had it the ability of life to thank you: He never gave commandment for their death. But since, so jump upon this bloody question, you from the Polack wars, and you from England, are here arrived, give order that these bodies high on a stage be placed to the view, and let me speak to the yet unknowing world how these things came about: so shall you hear of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts, of accidental judgements, casual slaughters, of deaths put on by cunning and for no cause, and, in this upshot, purposes mistook fallen on the inventors’ heads: all this can I truly deliver.

For: Let us haste to hear it, and call the noblest to the audience. For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune: I have some rights of memory in this kingdom, which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.

Horatio: Of that I shall have also cause to speak, and from his mouth whose voice will draw on more: but let this same be presently performed, even while men’s minds are wild, lest more mischance on plots and errors happen.

For: 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: And, for his passage, the soldiers’ music and the rite of war speak loudly for him. Take up the bodies: Such a sight as this becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. (To himself) I have done it. With the help of God, I have taken the rule of Denmark. Those who have passed have gone without purpose, leaving us with saddened thoughts and now tainted memories. However, Prince Hamlet has died with purpose, as I am told. He left us with courage, with honour, and with the utmost respect.I will take what is left of this nation and make it whole again. I will bring newfound respect to Denmark, and to my name as Fortinbras. And, I will do all this in the memory of Hamlet, a Prince who, like me, lost his father too soon. A man who, like me, had internal and external perils. And, although he ended as just a number in a casualty list, I will end the leader of two nations. So from his perspective, he was good and I was evil. But from my perspective, neither of us are evil, but rather, just looking from different directions. (Aloud) Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

(All exit)

Fin

NOTE: This play was written by Paul Little (not William Shakespeare) as an English project in 1999. It was based on the interesting yet small character of Fortinbras from the play "Hamlet". Parts of this play are direct copies from "Hamlet" and are in no way intended to plagiarize Shakespeare's work. It was, simply, a way to make the play more "authentic" and believable in relation to "Hamlet". Thank you for reading my work, and I really hope you enjoyed it.

© 1999 Paul Little