Shakespeare's masterfully crafted play contains such a multi-faceted character in a sense of economy; Polonius fulfills the roles potentially played by several insignificant characters. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Polonius is the father of Ophelia and Laertes. Read an in-depth analysis of Polonius. In the same scene, Polonius advises his daughter Ophelia to avoid Hamlet because he’s worried about her. Polonius also provides Hamlet with its main source of comic relief. The secure and happy family unit of Polonius, Laertes, and Ophelia provides a stark contrast with the dysfunctional unit formed by Claudius, Gertrude, and Hamlet. Polonius’s amusing lack of self-awareness serves as a comic foil to Hamlet’s existential struggle with self-knowledge. The Roles of Polonius in Hamlet As a secondary character, Polonius' roles in Hamlet are ingenious in their variety and purpose. Polonius will be listening to that conversation. Polonius hides behind a curtain in Gertrude’s room, to hear Hamlet’s conversation with his mother. Omissions? Help! Whereas Polonius’s lack of self-awareness is ultimately harmless, Hamlet’s lack of self-certainty drives him to his first act of violence, which completely and tragically misfires. The politic Polonius, convinced that Hamlet is truly mad, nonetheless recognizes in his speech some "method"—that is, a kind of artfulness and order. Hamlet’s close friend, who studied with the prince at the university in Wittenberg. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Aylmer was an actor and author who had a long career on stage and screen. Horatio. In the play Hamlet, the story centered around the psychological state of the main character Hamlet who is the prince of Denmark. (Annoying!) Hamlet went to his mother’s closet, to discuss her marriage to Claudius, and how Hamlet believed her to … Polonius takes his last attempt to spy on Hamlet. Laertes passionately pursues revenge, and Ophelia feels so struck with grief that she goes mad. Act 3 Scene 2. Presumably, he counseled King Hamlet as well. In his first line he tells us he hesitates to let his son Laertes go abroad, and he draws out his last meeting with Laertes because he’s reluctant to see him go. Polonius echoes for help and is heard by Hamlet, who then mistakes the voice for Claudius. Who dies behind a tapestry? Polonius’s death occurs as a result of him being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Laertes passionately pursues revenge, and Ophelia feels so struck with grief that she goes mad. Polonius is a proud and concerned father. Polonius´s first longer speech can be found in act 1, scene 3, when he tells Laertes to keep to certain principles. Who witnesses Polonius' death? Polonius’ death by Hamlet causes Claudius to fear for his own life, Ophelia to go mad and Leartes to seek revenge, which leads to the duel in the final act. Hamlet does so knowing Polonius can not answer back. At the same time, Polonius reveals himself to be a far from perfect father. Polonius is loyal to the King, where he makes an arrangement to spy on Hamlet. Polonius is also used to develop dramatic tension and moments of climax, as he was the one who engineers the powerfully dramatic meeting between Hamlet and Ophelia and whose plan to spy on Hamlet in conversation with the Queen ultimately sparked a chain of subsequent events that led to his own death and the tragic conclusion of the play. Updates? Punching down is Hamlet’s usual style with social inferiors: Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Osric all experience similar treatment. Polonius, meanwhile, is convinced that Hamlet’s madness is love sickness, because he can no longer see Ophelia. And he has indeed the function of a counsellor at the court of Claudius, which is among others shown by his again and again giving Claudius advice concerning Hamlet. Gertrude. People present in the scene: Hamlet – the Prince of Denmark and connoisseur of theater; Actors of the traveling theater; Polonius may be elderly and demented, but he must have been at least politically adept. After highly emotional discussion between the queen Gertrude and her son Hamlet, Polonium answers the queen’s cry in Act 3, Scene S by hollering, Nathan, ho! Do you agree that Polonius' murder is the turning-point of the drama? Polonius is determined to do whatever it takes to stay in the good graces of the king and queen, and invents many different ways of spying on Hamlet in an attempt to win the monarchs’ continued favor. Britannica now has a site just for parents! When one of the players delivers a heart-wrenching speech about Priam's death, Polonius interrupts to say (and we are not making this up), "This is too long" (2.2.523) (Admit it: you were thinking it, too.) Polonius seems to love his children; he seems to have the welfare of the kingdom in mind. The figure of Polonius in “ Hamlet ” is more interesting the more attention we pay to his crucial role in this long and involved tragedy. Polonius is still sure that Hamlet is fading with love.

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