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Fishmonger!It's hard to believe in the stratefied society of Hamlet's Denmark that...

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 11, 2008 at 1:40 PM via web

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Fishmonger!

It's hard to believe in the stratefied society of Hamlet's Denmark that Polonious could miss the insult of being called a "fishmonger."  Do you think he truly does miss it?  And, just for fun, suggest what would be the worst thing to be called today (or another timeperiod of your choice.)  Will those derogatory names be lose their power too as time passes? 

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 11, 2008 at 2:15 PM (Answer #2)

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Fishmonger!

It's hard to believe in the stratefied society of Hamlet's Denmark that Polonious could miss the insult of being called a "fishmonger."  Do you think he truly does miss it?  And, just for fun, suggest what would be the worst thing to be called today (or another timeperiod of your choice.)  Will those derogatory names be lose their power too as time passes? 

I still want to wash out the mouth of anyone who says something "sucks." In my day.....

Does he really take it as an insult? He asks Hamlet whether he knows him, and that's when Hamlet calls him a fishmonger. I've never studied the play in depth, so everyone's responses will be very interesting to me.

I think today for a woman to be called a skank is a huge insult. For a guy, I'm not sure.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 11, 2008 at 10:15 PM (Answer #3)

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It seems like Polonius is so full of himself, and so convined of Hamlet's madness for Ophelia, that he really does miss the fact that he's just been "dissed."  I have a hard time not picturing Ian Holm in this role, opposite Mel Gibson's Hamlet, and how he just laughingly blows the comment off...kind of a "How droll, the lunatic is just showing how insane he really is!"

Isn't "ho" or "slut" bad for women/girls nowadays?  I hate to say it, but it seems like for a guy to be called "gay" or a "fag" is still a really bad insult.  How ironic - It's bad for women to be thought easy, and bad for men to not want to sleep with women...hmmm...

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted February 12, 2008 at 5:12 AM (Answer #4)

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It seems like Polonius is so full of himself, and so convined of Hamlet's madness for Ophelia, that he really does miss the fact that he's just been "dissed."  I have a hard time not picturing Ian Holm in this role, opposite Mel Gibson's Hamlet, and how he just laughingly blows the comment off...kind of a "How droll, the lunatic is just showing how insane he really is!"

Isn't "ho" or "slut" bad for women/girls nowadays?  I hate to say it, but it seems like for a guy to be called "gay" or a "fag" is still a really bad insult.  How ironic - It's bad for women to be thought easy, and bad for men to not want to sleep with women...hmmm...

I agree, I think Polonius sees Hamlet as mad and arrogantly thinks he is manipulating him. It almost seems like that is the purpose of this scene; to show that it is working. If Polonius sees through Hamlet's act, then we would have to assume he would tell Claudius. That would change everything.

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 10:12 AM (Answer #5)

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This is an interesting topic because on the radio station I listen to in the AM the Jane Fonda reference to the "C" word was all abuzz. The point of the play the Vagina Monologues is to make some of those ugly words beautiful again. I don't think I will ever be able to hear that word and not cringe no matter how many plays they have. I can't think of any time I would ever even want to hear that word, let alone be called it.

I think Polonius is too arrogant to get it when he is being insulted. He doesn't even really acknowledge it because he thinks Hamlet is mad. I totally agree with Jeff's take, if he had gotten it he would have run off to tattle on Hamlet to the king. Since he didn't we know he missed it or ignored it.

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 1:28 PM (Answer #6)

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It seems like Polonius is so full of himself, and so convined of Hamlet's madness for Ophelia, that he really does miss the fact that he's just been "dissed."  I have a hard time not picturing Ian Holm in this role, opposite Mel Gibson's Hamlet, and how he just laughingly blows the comment off...kind of a "How droll, the lunatic is just showing how insane he really is!"

Isn't "ho" or "slut" bad for women/girls nowadays?  I hate to say it, but it seems like for a guy to be called "gay" or a "fag" is still a really bad insult.  How ironic - It's bad for women to be thought easy, and bad for men to not want to sleep with women...hmmm...

Funny that you bring up the word gay.  We're having tons of problems in our building (as I'm sure everyone is) with the usage of the word gay.  EVERYTHING is gay these days because that word means so many things.  We're really having problems disciplining based on that word because most of the time they are just saying something is stupid or boring or silly or whatever.  I've even had parents use gay to reference something during PT conferences.  How can you get mad at a kid who hears mom and dad using it as home??  I've found a farily effective method in my classroom; whenever a kid refers to something as gay, I tell them that I'll choose to understand they think it's happy.  Works wonderfully - the first time I assigned a 10 page research paper, one kid said long papers are gay.  I let him know how proud of him I was for being happy to write a long paper and increased the length of his assignment by two pages.  It's amazing how quickly assignments in my room stopped being gay.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 7:27 PM (Answer #7)

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It seems like Polonius is so full of himself, and so convined of Hamlet's madness for Ophelia, that he really does miss the fact that he's just been "dissed."  I have a hard time not picturing Ian Holm in this role, opposite Mel Gibson's Hamlet, and how he just laughingly blows the comment off...kind of a "How droll, the lunatic is just showing how insane he really is!"

Isn't "ho" or "slut" bad for women/girls nowadays?  I hate to say it, but it seems like for a guy to be called "gay" or a "fag" is still a really bad insult.  How ironic - It's bad for women to be thought easy, and bad for men to not want to sleep with women...hmmm...

Funny that you bring up the word gay.  We're having tons of problems in our building (as I'm sure everyone is) with the usage of the word gay.  EVERYTHING is gay these days because that word means so many things.  We're really having problems disciplining based on that word because most of the time they are just saying something is stupid or boring or silly or whatever.  I've even had parents use gay to reference something during PT conferences.  How can you get mad at a kid who hears mom and dad using it as home??  I've found a farily effective method in my classroom; whenever a kid refers to something as gay, I tell them that I'll choose to understand they think it's happy.  Works wonderfully - the first time I assigned a 10 page research paper, one kid said long papers are gay.  I let him know how proud of him I was for being happy to write a long paper and increased the length of his assignment by two pages.  It's amazing how quickly assignments in my room stopped being gay.

I've noticed the same thing with my kids in little Podunk, Tennessee. At first, I thought they really meant "homosexual," but when just about everything became "gay" I figured it was new slang. Where do these things get started? How do they get around so fast?

Don't you just want to expel the next kid who says, "My bad"????

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 10:24 AM (Answer #8)

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It seems like Polonius is so full of himself, and so convined of Hamlet's madness for Ophelia, that he really does miss the fact that he's just been "dissed."  I have a hard time not picturing Ian Holm in this role, opposite Mel Gibson's Hamlet, and how he just laughingly blows the comment off...kind of a "How droll, the lunatic is just showing how insane he really is!"

Isn't "ho" or "slut" bad for women/girls nowadays?  I hate to say it, but it seems like for a guy to be called "gay" or a "fag" is still a really bad insult.  How ironic - It's bad for women to be thought easy, and bad for men to not want to sleep with women...hmmm...

Funny that you bring up the word gay.  We're having tons of problems in our building (as I'm sure everyone is) with the usage of the word gay.  EVERYTHING is gay these days because that word means so many things.  We're really having problems disciplining based on that word because most of the time they are just saying something is stupid or boring or silly or whatever.  I've even had parents use gay to reference something during PT conferences.  How can you get mad at a kid who hears mom and dad using it as home??  I've found a farily effective method in my classroom; whenever a kid refers to something as gay, I tell them that I'll choose to understand they think it's happy.  Works wonderfully - the first time I assigned a 10 page research paper, one kid said long papers are gay.  I let him know how proud of him I was for being happy to write a long paper and increased the length of his assignment by two pages.  It's amazing how quickly assignments in my room stopped being gay.

I've noticed the same thing with my kids in little Podunk, Tennessee. At first, I thought they really meant "homosexual," but when just about everything became "gay" I figured it was new slang. Where do these things get started? How do they get around so fast?

Don't you just want to expel the next kid who says, "My bad"????

  Yes, yes, I hate "My bad" because it's always said so flippantly, like who really cares that I just did something I shouldn't.  It just dismisses whatever they just did.

One of my 8th graders this year did something really dumb, and he said, "Huh, my stupid!" :)  That one I had to laugh at!!

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 18, 2008 at 8:10 AM (Answer #9)

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I do think Polonius misses it...he seems so preoccupied in proving to everyone that Hamlet's strangeness is attributed to the fact that Hamlet is in love with Opelia.

I agree with #5 in the use of the "C" word.  It's the one word that truly rankles me.

I do have a funny story about one of the teachers here at my present school.  One of the boys called her "an old bi***" in class one day, and as the liason officer was pulling the boy to the principal's office, she said, "And don't you EVER call me OLD again!"  I almost wet my pants.

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