Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Hamlet, who played the part of Julius Caesar when acting at the university?

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It was Polonius who once starred as Julius Caesar in a student production. It's not hard to see why he was chosen—the other students probably couldn't resist the temptation to stick daggers into him, even if they were only props. It's fair to say that Polonius can be a little trying at times, a little too fond of the sound of his own voice; casting him as Julius Caesar was probably the right decision. In addition to satisfying Polonius's monumental vanity, it gave the other students an opportunity to silence him with their wooden daggers.

Polonius's fate as Julius Caesar, brutally stabbed to death by the assassins led by Brutus, foreshadows what happens to him later in the play: he is stabbed by Hamlet after hiding behind the arras while the student prince gave his mother, Gertrude, a good talking-to.

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In Act III, scene 2, Hamlet has a brief conversation with Polonius just after everyone comes in to watch the play Hamlet has arranged.  Hamlet is in a good mood and feeling witty, since he expects to find out whether Claudius is guilty of killing his father.

Hamlet: [To Polonius] My lord, you played once i' the university, you say?

Polonius: That did I, my lord, and was accounted a good actor.

Hamlet: What did you enact?

Polonius: I did enact Julius Caesar: I was killed i' the Capitol; Brutus killed me.

Hamlet: It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there.

So, Polonius is the one who played Julius Caesar.

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