Downfalls Caused by Weakness

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Weakness is a main theme within the play Hamlet. In the play we are shown different forms of weakness within the characters through their experiences. Three characters whose weaknesses lead to their downfalls are, Polonius, Hamlet and Claudius. Polonius' weakness is his need for control and to know everything about the people around him. He is so dedicated towards Claudius that he even spies’ on the people he cares about most. Hamlet’s weakness is his act of madness. His hate for his uncle and the grief of losing his father drives him for revenge. In doing so, Hamlet puts on a persona of being mad. Claudius' weakness is that he is too proud, and that he cowards away from the people he knows can damage and hurt his reputation. When a problem arises Claudius runs and hides away while someone else comes along to confront and fix it. In the play Hamlet, the character’s downfalls are caused by their own weaknesses of character.

Weakness can be brought upon a person in many ways. Polonius’s weakness is thehis inability to control his actions towards other people. Polonius has a controlling personality that ultimately causes his downfall. Polonius’s uncontrollable personality causes him to spy and manipulate the people he cares about. Right from the beginning we observed that Polonius manipulates Ophelia into spying on Hamlet. Polonius demonstrates that he is capable and willing to use his family as pawns, as well as do anything to keep Claudius happy. Polonius’ relationship with Claudius is nothing more than servant to a king. Polonius is used as a servant to retrieve information for Claudius. Since Polonius is used and manipulated by the king Polonius does the same ounto others that he cares about, such as his daughter and son. Ophelia reveals to Polonius about how Hamlet is treating her and Polonius’s first action is “Come, go we to the king. This must be known, which, being kept close, might move more grief to hide than hate to utter love” (2.1.117-119). Polonius’ lack of compassion towards his daughter shows much weakness in his character. Polonius is willing to use Ophelia as a pawn, while he tries to impress the king, than be respectful to his one and only daughter. Polonius reveals to us that his weakness is his uncontrollable actions towards others. These actions consist of hurting people he cares about to impress the king. On top of this, Polonius spies on his only son Laertes while he is in France. Polonius sends out a spy, Reynaldo, to document Laertes actions while in France. Reynaldo is simply going to France to deliver money and notes to Laertes, but Polonius asks, “Before you visit him, to make inquire of his behaviour” (2.1.4-5). Polonius shows us that he cares for his son by sending money to him but Polonius also believe that Laertes is in France for all the wrong reasons. Polonius’s actions reveal to us that he does not truly care for his son Laertes. Polonius actions are the same harsh actions he used with Ophelia, but under different circumstances. As well, Polonius would never have worried about Laetres if it was not to protect his family’s name. Polonius is worried that Laertes may give them a bad family name if he is “gaming, drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling, drabbing...” (2.1.25-27). So far Polonius has been using other people to spy for himself. Polonius’s frantic obsession with being in control becomes so great that he decides to spy on Hamlet and his mother Queen Gertrude with his own eyes. Polonius claims’ he spies only to protect the Queen from Hamlet. Hamlet has gone mad from love but it is clear that Polonius is doing this simply to discover information for the King. He wants to prove himself for his selfish needs. This last act of his cause’s his downfall. If Polonius had realized his selfish needs earlier his last words “O, I am slain” (3.4.24) would never have been said. Polonius’s downfall caused much distress on his children as well it provokes more madness in Hamlet“To be, or not to...
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