Hamlet : A Tale Of Betrayal And Revenge, Attrition And Tragedy

753 Words Jul 30th, 2016 4 Pages
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tale of betrayal and revenge, attrition and tragedy. One sees these themes personified through the interactions between each character. While the play’s initial tragedy is the murder of King Hamlet at the hand of his brother Claudius, it is the accidental death of Polonius truly initiates the demise of the others. In a tragedy, audiences often seek someone to hold responsible. Enter Polonius, the Lord Chamberlain and trusted advisor to King Claudius and father to Laertes and Ophelia. An old, foolish character whose trite and meddlesome personality cost him his life, Polonius is not only a catalyst but is also easily the most loathsome character in Hamlet. Polonius’ manipulative and conniving ways quickly surface in act two, just as he and his servant, Reynaldo enter the scene. Though Reynaldo’s instructions are to deliver money and letters for Laertes in Paris, the true reason for the trip is reconnaissance. Polonius is a suspicious and controlling father who wants to find out how his son is behaving while away at school. Polonius commands Reynaldo:
…Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris;
And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
What company, at what expense…
… put on him
What forgeries you please; marry, none so rank
As may dishonour him; take heed of that;
But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty (2.1.8-25).
Polonius’ instructions illustrate that he does not trust…

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