Name some characteristics of Polonius that can be proven on the basis of Act II.

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janeyb | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Polonius is long-winded and witty. Polonius proves his long-windedness in Act II.ii when Queen Gertrude says, "More matter, with less art” in an effort to hurry him to his point while using fewer witty figures of speech. Polonius remonstrates with clever word play on "'tis true" that he uses no "art" in his words before being more direct in his speech.

In both scenes i and ii of Act II, Polonius initiates spying. In II.i, he instructs Reynaldo to clandestinely investigate Laertes, and in II.ii, he plans a way to spy out Hamlet's innermost thoughts by an encounter with Ophelia: "I'll loose my daughter to him."

Nevertheless, Polonius is an honorable man despite his faults. He tells Ophelia directly that she must never hope for a marriage with Hamlet because the fortunes and fates of the kingdom of Denmark are tied to the marriage of Hamlet and he will not be allowed to marry at will.

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