Hamlet Another Common Allusion: "More matter, with less art"

William Shakespeare

Another Common Allusion: "More matter, with less art"

Writers often provide an indirect reference (an allusion) to Hamlet by using this line spoken by Queen Gertrude to the fool, Polonius:  "More matter, with less art."  This, of course, follows nicely after the previous insight about Polonius promising that "brevity is the soul of wit" and then failing miserably at that very same brevity and wit.  Polonius rambles and rambles about how he will describe Hamlet's actions and prove him to be mad.  Gertrude, rightly, is immediately frustrated when she says this one simple line.  How is she instructing Polonius?  She wants him to stop rambling, get to the point, and stop using superfluous words.  Polonius proves himself the fool once again by saying again and again that he will heed her advice and "use no art at all."  As a result, Polonius fails miserably at taking both his own advice ("brevity is the soul of wit") and the queen's ("more matter with less art").