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Polonius' Observations On Hamlet's Madness Essay

1231 words - 5 pages

Polonius' Observations on Hamlet's Madness


 The obedient Ophelia has followed her father's injunctions and repelled Hamlets letters and denied him access to her. Polonius is certain that these rebuffs have driven Hamlet mad. His only action is to inform the king and queen, and to let them decide what the next move will be. In Polonius lengthy discussion with the king and queen he explain the situation:


 Polonius: Your noble son is mad.

 Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,

                        What is't but to be nothing ...view middle of the document...

 Polonius: Mad for thy love?

 Ophelia: My lord, I do not know, But truly I do fear it.

 (Act II scene I)


 It is interesting to note that Ophelia does not tell her father that Hamlet is mad because of Ophelia denied love, but that Polonius automatically assumes this.


 Polonius: This is the very ecstasy of love,

 Whose violent property fordoes itself

 And leads the will to desperate undertakings

 As oft as any passion under heaven

 That does afflict our natures.

 What, have you given him any hard words of late?

 Ophelia: No, my good lord; but, as you did command,

 I did repel his letters and denied

 His access to me.


 The obedient Ophelia has followed her father's injunctions and repelled Hamlets letters and denied him access to her. Polonius is certain that these rebuffs have driven Hamlet mad. His only action is to inform the king and queen, and to let them decide what the next move will be. In Polonius lengthy discussion with the king and queen he explain the situation:


 Polonius: Your noble son is mad.

 Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,

 What is't but to be nothing else but mad?


 Polonius: I went round to work

 And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:

 'Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star.

 This must not be.' And then I prescripts gave her,

 That she should lock herself from his resort,

 Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.

 Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,

 And he, repulsed, a short tale to make,

 Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,

 Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,

 Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension, I

 note the madness wherein now he raves,

 And all we mourn for.

 King. Do you think 'tis this?


 Queen. it may be, very like


 At this point, it seems that Polonius has convinces both the King and the Queen that the true reason of hamlets madness is in fact Ophelia denial to Hamlet's affections. Even though we as the reader know that Polonius is not completely right, nor completely wrong, we develop a very clear understanding of the type of character that Polonius is.


            From what Polonius says, we can tell that he...

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