Essay on Analysis Of William Shakespeare 's Hamlet

1320 Words Apr 20th, 2016 6 Pages
To Be Or To Seem?
Although this is a misquotation of the famous line from William Shakespeare 's Hamlet, it points to several characters in the play. Hamlet is a play full of anger, desperation, and sorrow of many kinds, but these emotions are not always spoken of in earnest. Many of the characters in the play use lying, spying, and trickery to attain their goal. One of these is Polonius, who, although he speaks another of Shakespeare 's most famous lines, is actually one of the more odious characters in the play. He works as a shameless flatterer and spy, shows a world view that is totally untrue, and teaches his children this same worldview, which does tremendous harm to them.
Polonius first appears in the play in company with King Claudius, the current king of Denmark, who came to his throne by murder. Polonius is shown, as the play goes on, to be close in the counsels of the king. He flatters the king, while at the same time firmly praising his own worth. He also spies for the king, and not merely in matters of national security. At one point, he spies on the king 's own wife, and the king 's step-son. Moreover, this is not merely obeying, reluctantly, a dangerous king. He is eager to do it, and also uses spies on his own, sending someone to spy on and lie about his son.
All of this Polonius does because he has no morals. Surprisingly, this is evidenced in the famous lines, "This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou…

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