In William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, why does Polonius spy on Hamlet and Gertrude in act 2, scene 4? What is he trying to discover from listening in to their conversation?

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Polonius tells Claudius that he is going to listen to Hamlet's conversation with Gertrude as an impartial witness (since his mother is likely to be partial) who can tell the King what they discussed. Polonius has just talked to Hamlet and the Prince's fantastical observations would obviously have given him cause for concern.

While he claims to be spying for King and country, Polonius obviously has at least one other motive, apart from his constant love of interfering in the business of others. He has already decided that Hamlet's madness is due to Ophelia 's neglect (which he initially encouraged) and wants to find out anything he can about...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 343 words.)

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