Describe Hamlet's behaviour towards Polonius.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hamlet thinks Polonius is a buffoon who talks to much and is trying to foist his daughter on Hamlet. He never loses an opportunity to make fun of the king's closest advisor. He calls him a "fish monger" ( or pimp), compares him to Jepthah, an old Testament judge who sacrificed his own daughter, and generally plays him for a fool. When Polonius asks Hamlet what he is reading, Hamlet replies "words". Hamlet claims he sees things in the clouds just to get Polonius to foolishly go along with him. In addition, he tries to embarrass Polonius in front of the crowd gathered to see "The Murder of Gonzago", Hamlet points out that Polonius acted in Julius Caesar and his character was killed in the capitol. This is obviously a veiled threat to Polonius and actually foreshadows his death in Elsinore, the capitol of Denmark. After Hamlet kills Polonius, he calls him a "prating nave" or fool. He leaves Polonius' body lying in a pool of blood throughout his confrontation with his mother and then unceremoniously grabs him and hides his body. Hamlet obviously does not care for or respect Polonius.


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