Polonius' Mistakes Essay

2302 words - 9 pages

Polonius' Mistakes

Polonius' Mistakes
There are many parents who are too strict and do not let their children do things that might embarrass them. Other times a parent may use their child to do certain things in order to gain social prestige. Polonius demonstrates a similar type of behavior in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Polonius is "a domestic tyrant wreaking on his son and his daughter revenge for his own spoiled life" (Bloom 111) and "is an elderly and longwinded courtier and chief counselor" (Dominic 96) to the king. Polonius is in a high position in the Danish court, and he has a problem with talking too much. He is only concerned about his reputation, not Ophelia, "the young and innocent daughter of Polonius . . . ("Polonius" Benet). The main character, Hamlet, is the son of Queen Gertrude and King Hamlet of Denmark. King Hamlet has recently died, supposedly from natural causes. Hamlet despises the fact that his mother has remarried his uncle, now King Claudius, so soon after the death of King Hamlet. Later Hamlet sees the ghost of his father and King Hamlet tells him Claudius murdered him by putting poison in his ear. The ghost wants Hamlet to kill the new king, but to not harm his mother. Meanwhile, Hamlet is in love with Ophelia, but Polonius refuses to let her see him. Ophelia believes this obedience to her father has caused Hamlet's madness. However, in order for Polonius to please Claudius, he uses her to figure out the cause of Hamlet's abnormal behavior. After Polonius' death, Ophelia dies, and her death was because of her father's selfishness and poor decisions in doing all he could to satisfy Claudius.
One of the reasons Ophelia dies is because of her father's controlling ways. Ophelia explains to Polonius that Hamlet is in love with her: "He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders of his affection to me" (1.3.100-101). Polonius is appalled and states, "Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green girl . . ." (1.3.102). Polionus' quick judgment of their love for each other has caused him to speak this way. He claims that their love is unreal and he belittles her by saying she talks like she is immature and does not know anything. He states, "Think yourself a baby that you have ta'en these tenders for true pay which are not sterling" (1.3.106-108). Polonius tries to convince Ophelia not to accept love like any baby would, because babies are unaware of what kind of love they are being presented. Polonius is not interested in what Ophelia wants, "Tender yourself more dearly, or—not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, running it thus—you'll tender me a fool" (1.3.108-110). He believes she should offer herself more costly to someone else because he does not want to be embarrassed by their relationship. Ophelia disagrees, but he threatens her by saying, "Have you so slander any moment leisure as to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet. Look to't, I charge you" (1.3.134-136). He forbids her...

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