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An overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare

Based on this analysis, it aims to describe the traits of the character that may contribute to a discussion about contemporary behavior. Polonius Complex; Postmodern Identity; Shakespeare; Updike Introduction By adopting the ancient An overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare orientation about the study of the nature of dramatic characters in the Poetics 1 the analysis of speeches and actionsit becomes immediately possible to describe Polonius in The tragedy of Hamlet: Under this initial perspective, it is interesting to note Polonius's possible approximations and distances to the very well known problem of the lack of action noticed in the Prince of Denmark, or, according to Frye 19862 stated in the constitution of the characters of the play as a whole.

In Polonius, speech becomes an equivalent of or a substitute for the action. Throughout the entire play by Shakespeare, he has 86 speeches that anticipate 89 actions that can be classified in 17 different types: Through these effects of speech, it is possible to check both the strategies used to dissimulate Polonius's real intentions and his acknowledgement that, if conveniently operated, he can benefit from the theatrical manipulation of the world.

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Nonetheless, the development of the understanding of the world as a predictable theater that can be maneuvered is part of the mystery that composes such a tragic character. That happens because there are few moments in Shakespeare's play that insinuate how this interpretation was developed in Polonius's personality - and it is in this gap that John Updike, in his novel Gertrude and Claudius, creates, reinforces, or rereads Polonius's past experiences.

In Shakespeare, however, what becomes evident is that this interpretation feeds discourse as the substitute for actions. Such understanding of the world transforms the counselor from a cruel person into a victim of Hamlet's performative and irregular theatricality - derived, in part, from the irony of Yorick, the clown. Polonius's last line - "O, I am slain! John Updike's novel Gertrude and Claudius establishes the construction of Polonius's character with the reading of three texts: By doing so, Updike's text enunciates a way of study that tries to benefit not only from the previous information that Shakespeare may have used in the preparation of the character Polonius, but also from the mechanisms of re-creation used by the Elizabethan author to produce his dramatic text.

It is important to consider that Updike presents his analysis an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare Polonius's character based on his own creative process. Shakespeare had already done it when he created The tragedy of Hamlet by considering previous narratives.

Therefore, at the same time Updike updates the characters, he carries out his task of constructing them as a necessity to reinforce Saxo Grammaticus's, Belleforest's, and Shakespeare's creative memories - already impregnated with anonymous oral tradition.

First, his character is elusive, fickle and disguised so that it suits the laws of social convenience and royal authority - his behaviour varies according to the rules that give stability to the social theater. Second, although Polonius's personality is fit to variability so that the participation and control of social scenes occur, his understanding that human actions can be totally adjusted and predictable makes him less attentive to the performatic and circunstancial development of other characters.

Third, based on his study of human nature, he tries to deduce the actions of the other characters in a universal way, but his fickle way of operating with the theater of the world is incompatible with the support of any truth related to man.

To sum up, Shakespeare's royal counselor Polonius tries to invalidate the contradiction that constitutes him as a character. In view of such paradoxes that constitute Polonius in The tragedy of Hamlet and in Updike's novel Gertrude and Claudius, this article proposes an analysis based on the following questions: As to the first question, we asked: In relation to the fickle character of the counselor, in order to analyze and preserve the stability of social theater, it is possible to affirm that, in Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet, the clear difference between the kind of treatment Polonius gives to those who have a social position that is less prestigious than his own and to those who are nuclear in royalty immediately an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare the conservative attitude of the counselor.

On the one hand, Polonius establishes a regular an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare with those whom he considers inferior so that he can demonstrate the fixed quality of his hierarchical position. It may be noted in the order given to Ophelia at the end of Act one, Scene three: From this time be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence; set your entreatments at a higher rate than a command to parley.

For Lord Hamlet, believe so much in him, that he is young and with a larger tether may he walk than may be given you: This is for all: I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth, have you so slander any moment leisure, as to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet. Look to't, I charge you: On the other hand, by means of flattery he dynamizes his character or his understanding of the facts in order to fulfill the requests from royal people and acquire prestige within royalty.

In the dialogue between Hamlet and Polonius it is possible to note that the prince makes fun of the royal counselor's behavior: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel? By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed. Methinks it is like a weasel. It is backed like a weasel. Or like a whale? Therefore, the writer confirms that the counselor is pleased with his command stability and with the chance to take root and remain in this royal hierarchical order. In the middle of the dialogue that the counselor has with the queen it is possible to verify that, as Polonius was closer to the royal family, he negotiates his future position: He slumped back into the ill-fitting chair.

I suspect that our king would like to see me dismissed, which renders my risk either greater or less than otherwise-quite which, I cannot judge. But I think my stake, measured in years of royal favor remaining, is small and dwindling. Ophelia is still a child; she is apt to yield what cannot be recovered, getting nothing for it but contempt. Hamblet is arrogant, and walks on a longer tether than she, and enjoys using the full length of it.

Moreover, the Updike's text adds a different dynamics of flattery when the counselor himself inverts the logic of granting favors. He does it in relation to the queen when he hides her relationship with Claudius, and in relation to her lover when he becomes an accomplice in the assassination of Hamlet, the previous king.

This is the most well structured aspect Updike's novel has in relation to Polonius.

In Shakespeare's tragedy, as the counselor heedlessly admits the changeable and accidental nature of the personality of the other, Polonius's behavioral mechanism also suffers unforeseen setbacks when he comes across Prince Hamlet's speeches. The fact that Hamlet is contaminated with melancholy and that he simultaneously simulates madness potentializes his contempt for the play of convenience and curtsies.

This situation dismantles any precedent speculation about the scenes of social life that Polonius performs in order to become closer to the spheres of power. As a matter of fact, the counselor's flattery to Prince Hamlet, who is of greater hierarchy, is unmasked by the instability and temporariness of Hamlet's enunciations. Besides, Polonius's attempts to investigate the reason for Hamlet's depressive behavior are rejected by the satirical unpredictability of the replies given an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare the prince.

Do you know me, my lord? Excellent well; you are a fishmonger. Not I, my lord. Then I would you were so honest a man. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand. That's very true, my lord. For if the sun an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare maggots in a dead dog, being a god kissing carrion - have you a daughter? I have, my lord. Let her not walk i' the sun: In Gertrude and Claudius, by not adopting the temperament of a talkative Polonius, deprived of a sophisticated psychological profile, Updike expands the complexity of the analysis of this character in relation to Hamlet when he exposes the knowledge that the counselor has about the Prince's childhood and the consequences this knowledge presents to the royal family.

In Updike's work, Polonius becomes an informer of a deep part of Hamlet's character - a part that is reticent in Shakespeare's work. That is portrayed in Polonius' speech, when he talks with Queen Gertrude about Hamlet's character: Amleth at thirteen is formed for good or ill. The quirks that disturb you I would lay to his predilection for the actor's trade. He must try on many attitudes in rapid succession. To be sincere, then insincere, and then sincere in his insincerity-such shifts fascinate him.

How marvellous, to his student mind, is this human capacity to be many things, to take many roles, to enlarge one's preening, paltry identity with many half-considered feints and deceptions [. According to John Updike's reconstruction, the flaw of Polonius's analysis of Hamlet does not merely occur because it is exclusively based on the counselor's own past youth, considered as exemplary.

Such flaw is far beyond the fact that it derives from the an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare assessment of the pathos, supported in a generalizing conception of human behavior. It also comes from a confidence in the explanation of individual actions. It occurs by means of the study of a specific part of the past experiences of the observed subject, which stabilizes attitude models, such as childhood or the first emotional relationships.

Regarding the deduction of universalized forms of human behavior that, according to Polonius, stimulate the balance and dignity of the spirit, such as the elimination of the pathos advised to Ophelia, it is possible to presume that not only in Shakespeare but also in Updike's rereading such formulas maintain rules that preserve the status and the moral image of the man with a higher social hierarchy.

If, on the one hand, the counselor's role performed by Polonius precisely serves to maintain royal power as an exemplary emanation for the vassals, on the other hand, in Gertrude and Claudius, this character uses the prediction and the study of these scenes to improvise, in the opportunities observed in the theater of the world, his gradual and consistent entrance to the possibilities of decision and control that are inherent in royal authority.

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As for the second question, we asked: All the criticism by Freud 19384 Jones 19765 Lacan 1958 - 1959 6 and Benjamin 2009 7 referred here as appropriate illustrations stimulate the expansion of the psychological complexity of the character Polonius in relation to Prince Hamlet. Similarly, homonymous films, such as the ones by Zeffirelli 19908 Branagh 1996 9 and Olivier 194810 suggest a set of filters to the formulation of the counselor's traits.

In this sense, Updike's discussion about Polonius many times re-presents and synthesizes these critical studies and aesthetic transpositions reformulated in the very novel.

As for the third question, we asked: It is in the field of indefinition and flexibility that the counselor recognizes his possibility for staging in a political terrain to talk about identities associated to the desired authority.

The particularism of wishes, the metamorphosis of interests an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare the contingencies of power and the negotiation handled as the reformulation of representativity seem to derive from the current description of the postmodern subject. Nevertheless, it is important to observe that, while part of the theoreticians of postmodernity, such as Hall 2001; 11 199212 invest in these characteristics as a capacity to confront and clarify the socio-cultural tensions by means of the occupation of significant spaces of power representation, Polonius's case contradicts such project when using the same instruments to confirm the stability of authority.

In Updike's novel, this changes a little, because the counselor is able to orchestrate the assassination of the royal authority Hamlet-father by using specific stratagems.

Character Summary

However, he does it simply to preserve his social position and to acquire more prestige in his role as a counselor for the new king. In this sense, a considerable part of the investigations that describe the behavior of the royal counselor may work as clues to the discussion about the very profile of this character, his being updated in Updike's novel, and the relevance of analyzing Polonius's characteristics nowadays.

From Amora's 2006, p. More than this, the scholar defines Polonius's character as clumsy and unpleasant, as an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare nosy informer of the king 2006, p. Furthermore, Amora 2006, p. Contrary to this perspective is what Vygotsky 1971 14 thinks about the issue. By attempting to mediate the dispute between two an overview of the character polonius in hamlet a play by william shakespeare men - the king, who was marked by sin, and the prince, who was marked by suffering - the inevitable catastrophe reaches everyone who surrounds them.

In this case, since he has to perform his role as a counselor and as a representative of royal interests, Polonius cannot escape from tragedy. Harold Bloom, one of the most publicized Shakespearean scholars, in a very blunt essay entitled Hamlet: Poem Unlimited 200316 forgets so much about the peculiarities that compose Polonius's profile that this character is compared to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two very peripheral characters in the drama.

In this comparison, Bloom 2003 17 affirms that the satellite condition of these three characters allow for the development of the witty or critical tone of Prince Hamlet. Although Amora has caricatured Polonius, some passages in which this scholar illustrates the speeches of the counselor present counter-affirmatives to the jocular behavior that he tries to describe. As an example, Amora 2006, p. As he puts it, Polonius uses an excess of words that could be summarized in a single yes or no.

Have you your father's leave?