In Shakespeare's Hamlet, in Act Two, quote lines or passages from the scene that you enjoyed and comment on them.In Shakespeare's Hamlet, in Act Two, quote lines or passages from the scene that you...

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, in Act Two, quote lines or passages from the scene that you enjoyed and comment on them.

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, in Act Two, quote lines or passages from the scene that you enjoyed and comment on them.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act Two of Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, I very much enjoy scene two where the foolish Polonius is speaking with Gertrude—and she tells him to stop babbling and come to the point as he attempts to explain to the King and Queen what is wrong with Hamlet.

Polonius blabbers on about the meaning of "kingship" and duty, why day is day and night is night. Even while he admits that "longwindedness" is simply an "ornament," something that sounds good but means nothing, ironically, he does just this. It is also ironic that he says he will be brief, but finds it impossible to do so. After all this, he bluntly announces that Hamlet is crazy...though he goes on (again) to say that it is crazy to try and define what craziness is.

My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time.
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time. (95)
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?  (100)

Polonius is a contradiction: he can be very wise, but he never is able to see the wisdom in what he says, and is therefore, never able to take his own advice (as seen with the knowledge he shares with Laertes before he leaves for school).

Gertrude gives Polonius instruction to "spit it out," to provide more content and be less concerned about the style and cleverness of his speech.

More matter, with less art. (line 102)

Polonius insists there is no "art" in his speech, and since he sounds so foolish, talking in circles, it is easy to believe this, and it is humorous as well. While he insists he will not "indulge in wordplay," this is exactly what he does, even while running in verbal circles yet again. For instance, he says that what is true is a pity and it's a pity that it is true. He goes on long enough to even lose his train of thought. He then mentions Ophelia and a note she received from Hamlet. With all he has said (that has little or no meaning), now he insists that the King and Queen figure out what they think it means. Polonius says:

Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true—a foolish figure!(105)
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him then. And now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.(110)
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
I have a daughter—have while she is mine—
Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.

This is, of course, only the beginning of Polonius' rambling on this particular topic. It is imperative to him that the King and Queen believe that it is Hamlet's love for Ophelia that makes him crazy, for if they believe this, Polonius' value to the King will be secured. This is what Polonius wants more than anything, and he is willing to sacrifice his daughter's happiness to make sure it comes to pass.

The rest of Polonius' nonsensical speech continues until Hamlet enters, at approximately line 180.

Polonius is a perfect example of someone who describes something he/she does not like, while describing him- or herself all the while. Polonius is a harmless old man, but foolish and entertaining.


lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is obviously a very personal question and you will need to reveiw the act and look for the lines that you most enjoyed. Generally readers enjoy lines that are very "that is SO true" type lines, lines that have an irony to them, lines that are funny for some reason, or lines that are pretty or convey an idea in pleasing word choices.  I will give you a quick overview and a few suggestions to guide you in your review of the act.

Act 2 opens with the conversations between Polonius and Reynaldo.  Some of the best lines are the Polonius's as he tries to explain how to get information on Laertes.  His plan to ask questions that are small lies seems short-sighted.  You could comment on the flaw in his plan and the humor of the scene.

The next scene is Ophelia's report of Hamlet's strange behavior.  You could comment on what you think is Hamlet's oddest action and speculate about which would be the most upsetting thing about this whole scene for Ophelia.

The next scene is Claudius and Gertrude's welcome of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Elisnore to help Hamlet return to normal good nature.  You could comment on the sneakiness of Claudius or the fawning nature of the two men.

The next extended scene is some of the more humorous stuff of this play.  You could comment on the irony/tone of Hamlet's crazy talk that isn't really crazy at all.  You could comment on Polonius's reaction to Hamlet's talk.  You could also talk about Polonius and the way he behaves with the King and Queen and their interaction with him.  He is so concerned with being right; he is incredibly wordy; he acts pompously; he has got a plan to be sneaky, again.

The scene with Hamlet and his friends is kind of heart-breaking.  Hamlet opens the conversation with a fun joke about Fortune, but very quickly starts talking about how "Denmark is a prison."  He actually makes some rather philosophical comments in this conversation that are worth noting for their "truth."  You could also look at the Hamlet's tone of pleading for the truth near the end of the conversation.  Hamlet seems very human in this scene and that plays on the emotions of the reader.

The last part of the act is the appearance of the players.  You could comment on Hamlet's knowledge of theatre and these players in particular thus revealing another side of his personality.  You could comment on the significance of this play choice and the ironic connections between it and Hamlet' present situation.  You could reveiw the final soliloquy of the act and comment on Hamlet's state of mind, self-esteem, renewed disgust over Claudius, and his plan for the play to be put on the next night.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Whimsically, my own favourite line is when Hamlet calls Polonius a fishmonger! However, in terms of the overall play, I think there are a number of scenes of great interest, one of them is of course Hamlet's scene with the players. It is very interesting to examine this as a theme in the overall play, as theatre is of course used both as part of the plot in the Mousetrap, but also to comment upon a medium that is ironically being used to comment upon itself.

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