In "Hamlet", what are Polonius' and King Claudius' plans for spying?How do they do it? What are their ways of doing it? I don't need reasons.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Generally, Polonius' and Claudius' plans for spying on Hamlet usually involve Polonius hiding behind an "arras" (an elaborate form of tapestry) of some sort to do some occult listening.  After Hamlet decides to feign madness, Claudius decides that he wants to know more about Hamlet's odd treatment of Ophelia.  Thus the spying begins.  In Act 2, Scene 2 Polonius says to Claudius, "You know sometimes [Hamlet] walks four hours together here in the lobby. . . . At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him.  Be you and I behind an arras then.  Mark the encounter."  They follow through with this, but Hamlet (of course) knows that they are watching.  The first act of spying only confuses them more, so they try again.  Conspiring at the end of Act 3, Scene 1 Polonius says, "After the play, let his queen mother all alone entreat him to show his grief.  Let her be round with him, and I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear of all their conference."  Sure enough, after the play and during Act 3, Scene 3 Polonius says, "My lord, he's going to his mother's closet.  Behind the arras I'll convey myself to hear the process."  Unfortunately (or fortunately), it was this covert spying that brought Polonius to his death.  Hamlet, who thought Polonius to be Claudius behind the arras, was ready with his weapon.

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