Death in "Hamlet"

Essay by sugarshamUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2006

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William Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" is a tragedy, but not for Hamlet's family, more so for Polonius's family. Death is an often-occurring event, beginning with Act III, scene iv, leading all the way to the end, but the death of Polonius begins a casualty of deaths that lies in the wake of Hamlets revenge. The death of Hamlet and his family are the main focus in the play, but the true tragedy is that of the family of Polonius. Polonius, Ophelia, and Laertes were all pawns in the game between the revenge that Hamlet sought, and the paranoia of Claudius.

Polonius dies in Act III, while hiding behind a curtain. Although manipulated by Claudius, Polonius himself was a manipulator and died doing so. Polonius used his own children to suit his own needs also. Polonius was obsessed with his sons, Laertes, image making sure he sought the best education and was kept in good social standings.

Ophelia was kept from being pursued by Hamlet because Polonius did not think Hamlet's intentions were honorable. Polonius may have thought this would ruin his daughter and somehow lower her social standing or value. Polonius's manipulative ways were not one-way, the King manipulates Polonius. Claudius seeded the idea to Polonius that Hamlet was mad. Polonius then takes this idea and goes to the queen to "warrant"(1363, 29) that she be "round"(1365, 5) with Hamlet about his madness, hoping to influence the queen to sway Hamlet away from Ophelia. Polonius hides behind a tapestry to hear the conversation between Hamlet and his mother, the queen, Gertrude. When a heated exchange of words begins with Hamlet and Gertrude, Polonius calls out for help, a call that would be his last. Unknown to Hamlet who is behind the tapestry, Hamlet unleashes his...