• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Claudius has been presented in the theatre as a worthy King and Polonius as an amiable and sensible father. What is your response to the ways in which Shakespeare presents one of these characters?

Extracts from this document...


Claudius has been presented in the theatre as a worthy King and Polonius as an amiable and sensible father. What is your response to the ways in which Shakespeare presents one of these characters? It is hard to judge the character of Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet, due to the fact Shakespeare presents many of the events not only through Hamlet's eyes, but the eyes of Polonius' children and the King, and through these different people he is presented in different ways. However, there is a great deal more to this multi-faceted character in the play, as his presence and actions in the play is of great importance, before and after his death. Polonius is presented in different ways in various stage productions; usually, he is presented as a wise man, and one with great influence upon his son and daughter, Laertes and Ophelia, and of a man highly respected by King Claudius, Queen Gertrude and the people of Denmark. Despite this, he can become a rather comic character, if the company wishes Hamlet to be presented more positively. As Polonius is presented through different productions in different ways, it is difficult to evaluate his true nature. ...read more.


as friends: "grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel"; clothes: "costly thy habit as thy purse can buy"; money: "neither a borrower or a lender be" and socialising: "Give each man thy ear, but few thy voice" he is very succint and wise in approach. The last two lines, "Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee.", can be seen as very selfless and purely for the good of his son. Furthermore, Laertes' apparent and civilised respect found just as Polonius enters later, remarking that "A double blessing is a double grace; Occasion smiles upon a second leave." again shows Laertes' courtesy towards his father as a very wise man and a person of great importance to him. Later in the play, seemingly in another act of parental restriction, Polonius is presented to involve himself in relations with Ophelia and Hamlet in a meddlesome manner. He does not want a daughter that would succumb to what he thinks Hamlet is after: sexual relations, and those alone. Shakespeare could be presenting Polonius as using a lie as an example to sway her, and he says how he does "know, / When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul / Lends the tongue vows.", maybe ...read more.


Hamlet sees Polonius as an important factor in two issues: the first being his involvement with the quick change of throne after his father's death, where Hamlet suspects Polonius as the reason he lost out on reign over Denmark, as it is probable that Polonius helped Claudius into power while he was away; and secondly, the guessed interference with Hamlet's relations with Ophelia, and how they degenerated quickly over time. Polonius, although relatively foolish in certain actions, is an innocent man. He arguably does everything for his children in their best interests, and is loyal to the King and Queen. It is fair to say he is a victim of his own eavesdropping, although he does it to prove what he believes is the truth, and therefore what is a threat to who and what are important to him. I would conclude that Polonius is very much the amiable and sensible father many theatre productions make him out to be. Not only is he amiable and sensible, but his impact within the play is quite enormous. His speeches represent the themes of the play: corruption, and the difference between appearance and reality. Even after his untimely death, Polonius seems to reach into every aspect of Hamlet. He encompasses so many elements of the play; perhaps more than even Hamlet does; and is arguably the most important character in the play. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Polonius has sometimes been presented as an essentially comic character and sometimes as a ...

    4 star(s)

    He appears authoritative 'Look to't I charge you; come your ways' [Scene3 line.135 to Ophelia] and gives further instructions to Laertes 'Aboard, aboard..neither a borrower nor a lender be' [lines55+75]. This particular line enforces the idea he is comical/foolish; advising Laertes to leave else he'll miss his crossing, yet proceeding

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How far, and in what ways, do you agree that the story of Polonius ...

    3 star(s)

    such a 'sceptical eye' on society, conforming to Mangan's concept of the relevance of tragedy in real life. Aristotle was a key figure in defining tragedy, and stated in his 'Poetics' that a typical tragedy consisted of a noble protagonist, with a hamartia (tragic flaw), whose peripeteia (reversal of fortune)

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    Even a scratch will kill. (Uh huh, nobody will be suspicious?) Now the king decides that for backup (in case Laertes is unable to stab Hamlet and make it look like an accident), he will have a poisoned drink ready, which Hamlet will go for when he's thirsty.

  2. An Exploration of the Way Shakespeare Presents Madness in 'Hamlet'

    books, all forms, all pressures past, That youth and observation copied there; and thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmix'd with baser matter" It is in this quotation that Shakespeare makes it sound as though Hamlet will think of nothing but killing

  1. Polonius is an interesting and complicated character who plays an important part in Hamlet. ...

    His rudeness to his daughter shows that he does not care about her. Instead, he is suspicious that she might ruin his reputation and that Hamlet has the worst intentions for Ophelia. Polonius is selfish, suspicious, and uncaring. The suspicious trait later plays a part in Claudius's death when he is trying to find out the reason behind Hamlet's insanity.

  2. How does Shakespeare use language to describe Claudius as a villain?

    He admits before God that he has committed the "primal eldest curse" by carrying out his "brother's murder". He admits that his contrition is unforgivable since he is unwilling to give up the spoils of his ill-won battles. He begs instead that some divine assistance might bow his knees and soften his heart so that he can ask for forgiveness.

  1. How does Shakespeare shape the audience's response to Claudius in the play "Hamlet" ?

    death and his mother marrying her brother-in-law, "O most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!". At this point, Shakespeare has turned the audience against Claudius, because Hamlet feels so strongly about the present situation. This view is maintained by the audience, especially in Act 1 Scene

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    thoughts that had passed through his mind before;- in fact, in telling home-truths. Act iv. sc. 5. Ophelia's singing. O, note the conjunction here of these two thoughts that had never subsisted in disjunction, the love for Hamlet, and her filial love, with the guileless floating on the surface of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work