King Norway

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King Norway is, well, the King of Norway, as one would expect. The play dialogue makes reference to him, but he remains an offstage character.


It is explicit that King Norway is an old man. When he is first mentioned it is asserted that he is very sick, but that later proves not to be the case. We know little of his character, but it emerges, at least, that he is deceitful, vengeful, and ambitious. It also emerges that he has a good, cooperative relationship with his nephew, Fortinbrasse, quite unlike Claudius's relationship with Hamlet.

  • Costume - is irrelevant since King Norway does not appear on stage. In the mind's eye, we picture him costumed as befits a king.


King Norway is anonymous. That is, his personal name is not used. As the King, he is called by the country name, Norway.


King Norway has no lines. In Scene 7 the Danish ambassadors, upon their return from Norway, repeat some of what he said when he met with them.

Themes and Motifs

Most immediate for King Norway:

Revenge, Money, and Putting on a Show.

King Norway wants revenge for the loss of Norwegian land to Denmark and the death of his brother, he promises Fortinbrase money, and he puts on a show to deceive Denmark and the Danish ambassadors.

On Stage

King Norway does not appear on stage. He is mentioned in Scene 1 (Scene 1#070), Scene 2 (Scene 2#028), Scene 7 (Scene 7#063), and Scene 15 (Scene 15#015).

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