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As the plot in Hamlet progresses we start to have an understanding of each and every character and how they are

represented throughout the play. The second act scene one of the play starts with Polonius at his house, where Polonius is discussing with Reynaldo, telling him to go to France and give Laertes a bag of money, then spy on him. In Shakespeares time, spies were very common among the court and were used very often. The setting of the meeting between Polonius and Reynaldo is somewhere no one would hear their conversation. The most obvious exposition provided by the scene is when Ophelia encounters the mad Hamlet, and doesnt have a clue how to react to it, so she goes to the person, who might know and who she trusts the most, and that is her father. Finally this scene with its careful manipulation of the audiences response through the juxtaposing of moments of great fear that something has happened to young Hamlet, that has made him insane with the calm moments. In this analysis, Ill only be analysing Ophelia and Polonius but excluding Reynaldo since Reynaldo is only seen one throughout the play. Polonius Polonius is represented as a know-it-all Prime Minister who the audience would perceive to be a dim-witted old fool as it is evident by his assumptions of Hamlet madness is caused by the love for Ophelia. It appears Polonius likes to make assumptions and is easily mislead to the king. It seems that Polonius likes to take control and think everything he does is either right or logical. When the confused Ophelia seeks help from her father about Hamlet becoming mad, Polonius then assumes the cause of this madness is the love for Ophelia, as he quotes This is the very ecstasy of love, Whose violent property fordoes itself, or when he confidently reports to the King and Queen that Hamlets madness is caused by his love for Ophelia, as if his assumptions were correct, as he quotes If he loves her not and be not from his reason fallen thereon, let me be no assistance for a state, but keep a farm and Carters We are positioned to view Polonius as a person who has a defective memory, his loyalty to the king, and is insensitive and misconstrue events. Evidence within the play can prove these points. In Act one Scene three it gives evidence of Polonius being insensitive toward Ophelia and telling her not to get close to Hamlet and to throw away the love she has for him, he quotes ,Mary, Ill teach you. Think yourself a baby, that you have taken these tenders for true pay, which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly or----- not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, running it thus ---- youll tender me a fool. In Act two Scene one, it can be seen that Polonius has some defective memory as he sometimes forget what he wants to say as shown in the quotes on line 54~55 And then, sir, does he this--he doeswhat was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to say something. This act gives evidence that Polonius is loyal to the King, as he quotes on line 128~130 Come, go to the King. This must be known, which, being kept close, might move more grief to hide than hate to utter love. It also shows Polonius misconstrue Hamlet cause of madness as he quotes This is the very ecstasy of love, whose violent property fordoes itself The attitude that Polonius has presented to the audience is that he needs to know what everyone is doing; its as if he doesnt trust anyone and has this sense of wanting to know everyones private life. This can be proven when Polonius tells Reynaldo to spy on Laertes, after he has given him the money. Polonius also asks his own daughter to be a spy as well and make her lie when Hamlet asks her Wheres your father? Polonius values his place in the court, and is like a lap dog to the king. Polonius thinks he is the kings most trust worthy person, he reports everything to the king about

Hamlet. Polonius belief is that he knows everything that is happening within the kingdom, he also believes that Hamlets sudden madness is caused by his love for Ophelia, however, in our point of view Polonius is being played like a dim-witted old fool. This can be proven when Polonius proclaims Hamlets madness and says This is the very ecstasy of love, whose violent property fordoes itself. Ophelia Ophelia is represented as the Daughter of the Prime Minister and Hamlets Lover who the audience would perceive to be a gentle natured girl, when she set her brother good bye to France and listened to every advice received from her father, she quotes But, good brother, do not, as some ungracious pastor do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven, whiles like a puffed and reckless libertine himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, and recks not his own rede. Act one Scene three line 49~54. It seems Ophelia cannot do anything herself, and is always dependent on men. After she had encountered the mad Hamlet, she went straight to her father and asked him what to do. We are positioned to view Ophelia as dependent on men, obedient, innocent, and has a trusting nature. Evidence within the play can prove these points. In Act one Scene three it gives evidence of Ophelia following her brothers every word and she takes his warning to heart. She quotes, I shall the effect of this good lesson keep as watchman to my heart. In Act three Scene two, Hamlet was asking whether or not he could lay his head on her lap; however Ophelia refuses to let Hamlet do as he wishes. Ophelia has this habit of trusting, whatever her family or lover says to her, evidence within Act two Scene one helps us acknowledge it, As Polonius proclaim the cause of Hamlets madness, she trusted those assumptions without any doubt. The attitude that Ophelia has presented to the audience is that she cannot do anything for herself. She is dependent on men so much, that when her father died she had nobody to comfort her, Hamlet went off to England, and Laertes was still in Paris. Or when Hamlet goes mad she heads straight to her father, without thinking how to solve the problem herself. Ophelia values her family, evidence in Act four Scene five, when Laertes returns from Paris and starting a revolt against the king. Ophelia then comes in and sing songs of what is happening to her dead father, which then gives us an idea why she suddenly became a neurotic character, she quotes in line 175~178 They bore him barefaced on the bier, Hey non nonny, nonny hey nonny: and in his grave rained many tear, fare you well, my dove!. Ophelia belief is that she cant do anything on her own, and doesnt how to take care of herself. This then leads to her being controlled her father. Evidence within Act 3 Scene 1, line 52~55, Polonius tells Ophelia what to do and she obeys; Polonius says Read on this book, that show of such an exercise may colour your loneliness. Aesthetic features Within this scene, Shakespeare has also made implication of aesthetic features. Imagery were used in Polonius and Reynaldo, it gives image that nobody trusts anybody, Polonius tell Reynaldo You shall do marvellous, good Reynaldo, before you visit him, to make inquire of his behaviour this display within our mind that there is no sense of trust, Polonius has for his family. The other imagery is when Ophelia came into Polonius room frightened saying O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted this display the sense of fear something terrible has happened to an important person. Similes were used to describe Hamlets current condition he is Pale as his shirt this suggest that Hamlet is very white as if he had a seen a ghost, he is also described as With a look so piteous in

purport as if he had been loosed out of hell and this suggest he looked as if he had just seen the horrors of hell. Metaphors his stocks fouled, ungartered, and down-gyved to his ankle Ophelia Conclusion In this short scene of mere 130 lines, Shakespeare not only captures the audiences attention, provides a more detail view of Polonius, and provides crucial exposition, he also cleverly weaves the untrusting nature of man, and the start of a chain reaction by falsely assuming the cause of young Hamlets madness that soon will lead to the destruction Denmarks throne.

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