He is good, loyal, and honourable, seeming to possess the greatest virtue of all the characters, yet he still is doomed to die along with the other characters, precisely because of his great virtue. As Scene Two begins, in the first lines which Laertes speaks in the play, he requests that King Claudius allow him to return to his duties in France. Soon after Laertes departs, Polonius meets with Reynaldo, and instructs him to bring money for Laertes, but first to spy on him and to make sure that he stays out of trouble.
Character[ edit ] Father of Ophelia and Laertesand counselor to King Claudiushe is described as a windbag by some and a rambler of wisdom by others. It has also been suggested that he only acts like a "foolish prating knave" to keep his position and popularity safe and to keep anyone from discovering his plots for social advancement.
It is important to note that throughout the play, Polonius is characterised as a typical Renaissance "new man", who pays much attention to appearances and ceremonious behaviour.
Some adaptations show him conspiring with Claudius in the murder of King Hamlet. In Act 1, Scene 3, Polonius gives advice to his son Laertes, who is leaving for France, in the form of a list of sententious maxims.
He finishes by giving his son his blessing, and is apparently at ease with his son's departure. However, in Act 2, Scene 1, he orders his servant Reynaldo to travel to Paris and spy on Laertes and report if he is indulging in any local vice.
Laertes is not the only character Polonius spies upon. He is fearful that Hamlet's relationship with his daughter will hurt his reputation with the king and instructs Ophelia to "lock herself from [Hamlet's] resort". He later suspects that Ophelia's rejection of Hamlet's attention has caused the prince to lose his wits, and informs Gertrude and Claudius of his suspicion, claiming that his reason for commanding Ophelia to reject Hamlet was that the prince was above her station.
He and the king test his hypothesis by spying on and interrogating Ophelia. In his last attempt to spy on Hamlet, Polonius hides himself behind an arras in Gertrude's room.
Hamlet deals roughly with his mother, causing her to cry for help. Polonius echoes the request for help and is heard by Hamlet, who then mistakes the voice for Claudius' and stabs through the arras and kills him.
Polonius' death at the hands of Hamlet causes Claudius to fear for his own life, Ophelia to go mad, and Laertes to seek revenge, which leads to the duel in the final act. Sources[ edit ] The literary origins of the character may be traced to the King's counselor found in the Belleforest and William Painter versions of the Hamlet legend.
However, at least since the 19th century scholars have also sought to understand the character in terms of Elizabethan court politics. The theory was often finessed with supplementary arguments,  but also disputed.
Arden Hamlet editor Harold Jenkinsfor example, criticised the idea of any direct personal satire of Burghley as "unlikely" and "uncharacteristic of Shakespeare".
In the first quarto of Hamlet, Polonius is named "Corambis". It has been suggested that this derives from "crambe" or "crambo", derived from a Latin phrase meaning "reheated cabbage", implying "a boring old man" who spouts trite rehashed ideas. Various suggestions have been made to explain this.
Hibbard argues that the name was originally Polonius, but was changed because Q1 derives from a version of the play to be performed in Oxford and Cambridge, and the original name was too close to that of Robert Poleniusfounder of Oxford University. Since Polonius is a parody of a pompous pseudo-intellectual, the name might have been interpreted as a deliberate insult.
Stage and film portrayals[ edit ] In most productions of the 20th century, up to aboutPolonius was played as a somewhat senilegarrulous man of about seventy-five or so, eliciting a few laughs from the audience by the depiction.
More recent productions have tended to play him as a slightly younger man, and to emphasise his shiftiness rather than pompous senility, harking back to the traditional manner in which Polonius was played before the 20th century.
Until the s there was a tradition that the actor who plays Polonius also plays the quick-witted gravedigger in Act V. This bit suggests that the actor who played Polonius was an actor used to playing clowns much like the Fool in King Lear: Polonius adds a new dimension to the play and is a controlling and menacing character.
One key to the portrayal is a producer's decision to keep or remove the brief scene with his servant, Reynaldo, which comes after his scene of genial, fatherly advice to Laertes. He instructs Reynaldo to spy on his son, and even suggest that he has been gambling and consorting with prostitutes, to find out what he has really been up to.
The inclusion of this scene portrays him in a much more sinister light; most productions, including Laurence Olivier 's famous film version, choose to remove it. The respective productions starring Richard Burton and Kenneth Branagh both include it.
Although Hume Cronyn plays Polonius mostly for laughs in the Burton production, Polonius is more sinister than comic in Branagh's version. Famous lines[ edit ] Polonius's most famous lines are found in Act 1 Scene 3 "Neither a borrower nor a lender be"; "To thine own self be true" and Act 2 Scene 2 "Brevity is the soul of wit"; and "Though this be madness, yet there is method in't" while others have become paraphrased aphorisms "Clothes make the man"; "Old friends are the best friends".
Also, the line he speaks when he is killed by Hamlet in Act 3 scene 4 "O, I am slain! No other actor has ever won an award for playing Polonius in any professional American stage version of Hamlet, nor for playing him in a film version of the play.
In " The Producer ", a episode of Gilligan's IslandPolonius' "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" speech is performed satirically, first by series regular Alan Hale Jr.Influence Character Throughline. The Ghost — The spirit of King Hamlet.
Physics Influence Character Throughline. The Ghost is the spirit of King Hamlet who is doomed to walk the earth during the nights and endure purgatorial fires during the daytime in expiation of sins committed during life.
heartoftexashop.com Hamlet: Laertes An Important Character In Play Though seeming to simply be a minor character, Laertes is of great importance in the play, Hamlet, and much more than one would initially believe, due to his extensive inner conflict.
He is good, loyal, and honourable, seeming to possess the greatest virtue of all the characters. Laertes, a young Danish lord, is the son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. He spends most of his time off at college, but, like a lot of college students, he manages to pack a lot of action into the few times he's home.
Foil to Hamlet. After Hamlet kills Polonius, Laertes faces the same problem that Hamlet does —a murdered father. Hamlet and Laertes presumably grew up together, fencing with one another and confiding in one another.
Then Hamlet went away to Wittenberg and Laertes to Paris, parting the friendship. Then Hamlet went away to Wittenberg and Laertes to . Events before the start of Hamlet set the stage for tragedy.
When the king of Denmark, Prince Hamlet’s father, suddenly dies, Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, marries his . FEW critics have even admitted that Hamlet the play is the primary problem, and Hamlet the character only secondary.
And Hamlet the character has had an especial temptation for that most dangerous type of critic: the critic with a mind which is naturally of the creative order, but which through some weakness in creative power exercises itself in criticism instead.