Analysis of Act I Scene Iii from Hamlet

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  • Topic: Hamlet, Gertrude, English-language films
  • Pages : 2 (544 words )
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  • Published : February 7, 2008
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"Give thy thoughts no tongue…
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice…
For the apparel oft proclaims the man…
Neither a borrower nor a lender be…
This above all, to thine own self be true"

These famous lines of Shakespeare's Hamlet are one of the most quoted lines of all Shakespeare's work. They ring true for us even today, and are still in our minds.

These lines are important to the character development of Polonius. To Polonius, his public image is the most important thing. By giving Laertes the guidance and wise words, he appears to be a loving, caring father, who looks out for his children. But in reality, however, Polonius is just working for his own interests – he wants to control his public image. By saying these things to Laertes, he is trying to control Laertes, who, being his son, affects his image. Furthermore, in Act two, Polonius sends Reynaldo, a spy, to gather information about Laertes. This is another image of Polonius trying to control his son. This also portrays the lack of trust that Polonius has for people, as well as the fact that he doesn't respect others – he doesn't respect Laertes' privacy. Another character trait that these lines bring out in Polonius is that he is a hypocrite. He tells his son how to behave, but then doesn't even behave that way himself. For example, on line 80 of scene three, Polonius tells Laertes, "Thou canst be false to any man". This proves that Polonius is a hypocrite because Polonius is false to many men numerous times in the play. One example of this is in Act III Scene IV where he was listening in to Hamlet's conversation with Gertrude prior to being stabbed by Hamlet.

The wise words of Polonius relate to life in our time too. Almost all of the sayings should be practiced are still practiced today. The "apparel oft proclaims the man" is in the back of people's minds every day. Fathers today still tell their children not to lie and cheat and steal just as Polonius did to Laertes when he...
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