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The Character of Polonius in Hamlet
Words: 2093 Length: 7 Pages Document Type: Research Paper Paper #: 68316093
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Polonius: A Literature Review
As chief counselor to the king of Denmark, Polonius plays an important and nefarious role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet—yet his words are often quoted out of context and it is Polonius, the spying, lying, manipulating old fool of a father and counselor who gives one of Shakespeare’s most memorable lines: “To thine own self be true!” (Shakespeare 1.3.564). Polonius shows of course that it matters not if one is being true to one’s self because the self is a chameleon that shifts and changes depending on the environment: Polonius adapts his character to the situation, as does Hamlet, Ophelia, Claudius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and so on (Wilson; Landy). Horatio is one of the few characters who consistently expresses himself from scene to scene; the others attempt to deceive regularly, and deceive themselves throughout. Instead of being true to God or to others, Polonius’s counsel is essentially a…