Polonius Analysis

Essay by xxveronHigh School, 12th grade December 2007

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In Act 1 Scene III of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the reader is exposed to a more in depth view of Polonius, unlike in the prior Scenes, where his words were kept to a minimum. In this scene, we no longer see Polonius as the king’s councilor, but instead as father figure. It is through this constant interaction between him and his two children, Ophelia and Laertes that we distinguish what Polonius’ personality is like, what kind of person he truly is, and how well he plays the role of a father.

In my opinion, Polonius is a good father to his children, however, I believe that the advice he gives to his children may solely be to benefit himself in one way or another. For the most part, Polonius worries and looks out for his two children’s actions, knowing that if they are to mess up or do something out of line; it will ultimately be his reputation that is on the line.

Throughout Polonius’ first speech with his son Laertes, we see the first example that proves this to be true. “Give thy thoughts no actions,” (1, 3, 59). This passage says not to act on any thought you may have. Many people would see this passage to be positive, however, in my opinion; I believe Polonius tells this to Laeretes in order to avoid any embarrassment that may come his way. By Polonius telling him not to act on any though, it is as though he is saying not to do anything at all as everything we do in life is derived by a thought.

Another passage I will use to prove this point is, “Take each mans censure, but reserve thy judgment.” (1, 3, 69) What this passage means is to be open...