Homework Help

In Hamlet, although the end of act II, scene i is about Ophelia, what does it show...

user profile pic

maria222 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:54 PM via web

dislike 1 like

In Hamlet, although the end of act II, scene i is about Ophelia, what does it show about the character of Polonius?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:01 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Act II, scene i demonstrates the overprotective nature of a typical father of a teenage girl. Polonious quickly jumped to the conclusion that Hamlet was actually making a move on Ophelia (Hamlet appeared to Ophelia in her closet with his clothes coming off) when in truth, Hamlet went to a friend of his for moral support after he saw a ghost.

This scene also demonstrates Polonius' admonition that he's capable of making mistakes. This is ironic because that is exactly what he is doing when he admits making mistakes:

By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion.

These lines mean that Polonius recognizes he can get caught up in his own opinion which can be a wrong opinion ... just as much as people who are young often fail to have "discretion". This is a direct reference to Hamlet.

 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes