Hamlet, An analysis of Polonious

Essay by DuVc2002High School, 12th grade April 2005

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Although Polonius is bent on servitude and devotion to King Claudius, he is torn between his career ambitions and his family. Polonius deceitful actions serve as an epitome of a typical character in "Hamlet." He is a politician, and politicians are generally two faced individuals. For example, while his son Laertes was prepping to leave Denmark to travel to France, Polonius gave him a fatherly speech of proper manners. In the following act, he sends a servant to France to seek inconsistencies in Laertes's conduct. Also, to further fuel his aspirations, he stoops as low to use his own daughter Ophelia to extract information from Hamlet just to impress King Claudius. Polonius craves acceptance, and he'll do anything to maintain his image to Claudius.

Before Laertes left for college in France, Polonius delivers a consultative speech of integrity and sensibility.

And these few precepts in thy memory

Look thou character.

Give thy thoughts no tongue,

Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel;

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware

Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,

Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.

Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:

Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy:

For the apparel oft proclaims the man;

And they in France of the best rank and station

Are most select and generous chief in that.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be:

For loan oft loses both itself and friend;

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

This above...