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

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

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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.



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