What other character in the play "Hamlet" does Osric, the courtier, remind you of?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now that you mention it, Osric reminds me of Polonius, even though there is a great age difference between them. They both like to talk in an affected manner, using pretentious words and circumlocutions. Here is a sample of Polonius's dialogue from Act 2, Scene 2:

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.

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?


Both of these characters act as go-betweens, busybodies, flunkies. They usually seem to be in a haste and out of breath. They both annoy Hamlet with their affected speech and mannerisms. Hamlet mocks them both to their faces in similar ways, and both seem unaware that they are being made fun of, although the audience gets great amusement out of these encounters. Shakespeare seems to be satirizing courtiers in his depiction of both these officious, intrusive characters. No doubt Polonius was much like Osric when he was a young man, and no doubt Osric will be like Polonius when he grows old.