In Act 3, Scene 1 of Hamlet, how do Claudius and Polonius view the meeting between Hamlet and Ophelia?
Polonius has assured Claudius that he has diagnosed Hamlet's apparent melancholy and madness. The old man believes that Hamlet is madly in love with his daughter Ophelia, and he persuades the King to spy on both of them when he arranges for them to meet together. The meeting between Hamlet and Ophelia does not evolve as Polonius expected. Hamlet behaves erratically and repulses the poor, innocent girl, telling her, among other things, to get to a nunnery. It would appear that Hamlet feels fairly certain that he is being spied upon by the King or by one or more of the King's agents. It also would appear that Hamlet thinks Ophelia is cooperating with Claudius in prying into his secret thoughts.
After Claudius and Polonius re-enter the scene, the King expresses his dismissal of the love hypothesis and his suspicions that Hamlet is really plotting against him. Claudius uses one of Shakespeare's most beautiful and most characteristically homely metaphors to convey his feelings.
Love! his affections...
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