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The Two Faced Character: Polonius Essay

1129 words - 5 pages

Polonius played a vital role in Hamlet even though he was not one of the main characters. He continued to reinforce the theme of corruption and displayed the social and ethical collapse of Denmark. His deceitful actions show the reader that he is one of dishonesty and chicanery. In the play, Polonius was portrayed as someone who is a deceiver and pretender that betrays people he is supposed to be devoted to; and who only cares about things that will benefit him. These characteristics of Polonius are seen through his interactions with Ophelia, Hamlet, Laertes, Reynaldo and the King.
Polonius can be depicted as two faced. This is evident with his interactions with the King. Polonius was loyal and faithful to King Hamlet, Gertrude, and Hamlet. Polonius was King Hamlet’s loyal advisor yet, he jumped bandwagons whenever he saw there was something he could gain. However, his loyalty to the King and Prince Hamlet was restricted. Polonius declares his allegiance to Claudius, the new King in the following speech, ‘I assure my good liege, I hold my duty as I hold my soul, both to God and to my gracious king…’ If Polonius were indeed loyal to King Hamlet, he would not have supported the devious and cruel Claudius. He declares that his soul belongs to God, yet if he were a committed Christian, as he says he is, he would have been faithful towards his children and the King.
Polonius is selfish and only cares about his well-being. Polonius does not care about Ophelia and her relationship with Hamlet, but only cares that it makes him look bad. Polonius is more worried about where he stands with King Claudius, than his standing with his daughter’s thoughts and feelings. When he discusses Hamlets love with her he states, “You’ll tender me fool,” asserting that if Ophelia falls in love with Hamlet, her love would ruin his image and make him look like a fool. Polonius is very concerned about his repute, “Then I’ll tell you. Believe that you are a foolish little baby for believing these “offers” are something real. Offer yourself more respect, or—not to beat this word to death—you’ll offer me the chance to be a laughing-stock.” All through the play, Polonius’ selfishness is shown, “I have a daughter, while she is mine, who in her duty and obedience, mark, hath given me this, now gather and surmise.” Polonius admits that his daughter is supposed to obey and honor him. He does not care about her emotions, as he shows no comfort after heartbreaking confrontation with Hamlet. He also uses Ophelia to test Hamlets sanity for the benefit of himself and King Claudius. Moreover, Polonius has Laertes spied on. He convinces himself that it is righteous. Yet, he is controlling the situation for the good of himself.
Polonius had an evil plot. Polonius always spies on others to gain secret and private information. Polonius and Claudius together, work against Hamlet, and try to verify his sanity. Polonius performs as if he would do anything that Claudius asks of him, or anything...

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