Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Do Claudius & Polonius have the same reasons for spying on Hamlet & Ophelia? How are their goals similar in Hamlet? How are they different?

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No, is the answer to the first question.    Claudius spies on Hamlet because as he says, "Madness in great ones must not unwatched go."  He is worried that Hamlet knows more than he is letting on.  When Polonius thinks he has discovered the secret to Hamlet's melancholy and madness, Claudius is still skeptical that there must be causes other than a broken heart.  "How may we try it further?" he asks Polonius.  In other words, he wants to spy to determine whether or not Polonius' theory is correct, and the fact that he is skeptical shows that he is suspicious that there might be other causes:  Hamlet knowing that Claudius is his father's murderer, specifically.

Polonius spies to curry favor with the king.  Polonius is a "knee-crooking knave" and will do almost anything to gain Claudius' confidence, even if he must confiscate his daughter's love letters or use his daughter to trap Hamlet.  Polonius sincerely believes that Hamlet suffers from a...

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