Hamlet Case Study

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1) Shakespeare uses Polonius’ character to make satirical observations about the corruption in King James’ court. Through Polonius’ character he also illuminates the universal theme of deceit. Find five quotes from acts 2 and 3 that support these observations about Polonius.

“You shall do marvellously wisely, good Reynaldo. Before you visit him, to make inquire of his behaviour.” – Polonius, Act 2 scene 1.

“Now gather and surmise”- Polonius, Act 2 scene 2 (Polonius reads out Hamlet’s private letter to the King & Queen and belittles their relationship.)

“I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter”- Polonius, Act 2 scene 2

“ ‘Tis too much proved, that with devotions visage, and pious action, we do sugar o’er the devil himself” – Polonius, Act 3 scene 1

“That the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in his own house. Farewell.” – Hamlet, Act 3 scene 1 (Hamlet knows Polonius is spying)

“You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said, we heard it all” – Polonius, Act 3 scene 1

“Behind the arras I’ll convey myself to hear the process…I’ll call upon you ere you go to bed and tell you what I know” – Polonius, Act 3 scene 3

2) Re-read Hamlet’s speech to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and rewrite the speech using modern, colloquial language (one paragraph)

Hamlet: I’ll tell you why—so you won’t have to tell me and give away any secrets you have with the king and queen. Recently, though I don’t know why, I’ve lost all sense of fun, stopped exercising—the whole world feels sterile and empty. This beautiful canopy we call the sky—this majestic roof decorated with golden sunlight—why, it’s nothing more to me than disease-filled air. What a perfect invention a human is, how noble in his capacity to reason, how unlimited in thinking, how admirable in his shape and movement, how angelic in action, how godlike in understanding! There’s nothing more beautiful. We surpass all...
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