The Vanity of Polonious in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

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The Vanity of Polonious in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Polonius is an important and respected person. It seems appropriate that he investigates and controls the behavior of his son and daughter. He, as the King's advisor is no longer a private person but a public one: what he or his children do has important public, not just personal implications. However, if his actions and speeches are examined closer, it is evident that he is a limited and vain person who is overly concerned with his appearance and wears different masks to tune up to different people. In the following speech, Polonius is sending his servant, Reynaldo, to France in order to find out how Laertes, Polonius's son is behaving himself. Polonius instructs Reynaldo to…show more content…
For Polonius, however, the end justifies the means. His methods of finding out the truth suggest that Polonius is not concerned about Laertes's well-being; rather Polonius is worried how Laertes is making him look. Polonius could have Reynaldo ask Laertes himself about his life in Paris. Since Polonius wants to know how Laertes appears to other people. Polonius assumes immediately that Laertes is not behaving himself properly; he is ready to believe the worst about his son. He is absolutely sure that he knows how young men behave when away from parental control - drinking, fencing, quarreling, and going to a "brothel". Polonius has an inclination toward cynicism and suspicion of other people. For Polonius, acting rotten comes so naturally that he expects other people to also be like that. Polonius's tone suggests that he is at ease and not at all sorry about using dishonest methods or doubting their decency. In fact, his vanity makes him very proud of his crafty stratagems. This is evident in the closing lines of his speech where Polonius uses metaphors and pompous figures of speech to stress that he made up his strategy because "of wisdom and of reach," where "reach" means mental ability. However, as the following passage suggests, Polonius is in fact what Hamlet calls him - a "tedious old fool." (II. ii. 237). Polonius has decided to tell Gertrude and Claudius that he has discovered the reason for

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