Essay on the Manipulation of Polonius and Ophelia in Hamlet

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The Manipulation of Polonius and Ophelia in Hamlet The main plot of Shakespeare's Hamlet centers around Prince Hamlet's desire to repay King Claudius for his evil deeds. Around this central action revolve the stories concerning the minor characters of Polonius and Ophelia. Though they do not motivate Hamlet's actions towards the King, these characters act as forces upon Hamlet himself, trying to spur him to do things he does not want to do. Both Polonius and Ophelia try, unsuccessfully, to manipulate Hamlet into a place of inferiority. In the first scene of Act II, Polonius and Ophelia discuss the meaning of Hamlet's odd behavior. Though the two characters agree his actions arise out of the torment of spurned love,…show more content…
Issues of power are foremost in Polonius' mind. He immediately seeks the King in order to legitimate his accusations concerning Hamlet. By doing this, not only does Polonius gain power over Hamlet, but also with the King himself. Polonius tries to control the way Hamlet is seen around the court so as to rise in stature himself. Through his manipulation of Ophelia, Polonius becomes a character not as much concerned with familial ties as one whose concern rests within the world of court intrigue and position. Taken separately, these two characters have different agendas concerning the Prince. Polonius' preoccupation with power exists at the same time as Ophelia's true (but nevertheless easily controlled) concern. When looked at together, these two people form something larger. Ophelia's sentiments, when mixed with Polonius' desire for power, result in a double-edged sword aimed at Hamlet. Other scenes within the play have both of these characters trying to pull Hamlet in such a direction as to give the King the advantage he needs. In this scene, though Hamlet is not present, Polonius and Ophelia form a kind of anti-familial unit. On one level, this father-daughter team works well within itself. But on another level, these two figures symbolize the hazy separation Hamlet himself feels from any type of
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