Essay, Research Paper: Hamlet Themes

Shakespeare: Hamlet

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Hamlet is supposedly centered on one character; Hamlet himself, but the play is
driven by plots and schemes that are derived from other characters in the play.
In the play Hamlet, the character Polonius causes misconstrued emotions in other
characters, and this is due in large part to his position as a confidant to many
main characters. He is acting as a “middleman” and manipulates others
characters’ feelings to lead up to final conflict. Polonius is a man that
confuses most, but intrigues all. For the beginning of the play he is the
readers guide, and helps to inform the reader of all that is happening within
the lives of the main characters. He was not meant to be a main character, but
any character that is put in the position of an informant instantly becomes a
main character. Polonius is a character in the play for just long enough to give
the reader a good start with what is going on. Polonius is the one character who
communicates and interacts with every other character in the play. He pieces the
play and the characters together to make them more understandable to the reader.
Communication is what Polonius does well, but it is also what he does for his
living. He is dedicated to the King, but at the same time he is dedicated to his
daughter, Ophelia, his son, Laertes, and the Queen, Gertrude. His connections
with these powerful people is a great example of how they are all getting
information from Polonius, and using it to wreak their own havoc. Polonius’
position as the “middleman” gives him an indescribable amount of power,
which he takes advantage of. He uses what others tell him to supply others with
valuable information, all the way up until his sudden demise. Polonius changes
very little throughout the several Acts for which he is present, but that
doesn’t take away from his importance as a character. He establishes himself
as a liar and as someone that is not to be trusted, constantly going behind the
backs of others. We see an example of this when Polonius was spying on his
daughter and Hamlet, “You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said; we heard it
all”(Act 3, Sc. 1). He constantly gathers information on others, and uses it
to boost his own standings with Claudius. Throughout Polonius’ involvement, he
is portrayed and depicted as someone that uses others, even his own daughter,
but he can be viewed in a different light as well. Polonius was simply doing
what every human being strives for; he wanted to know the whole truth about
everything. He used his knowledge in a negative manner, but he maintained his
composure and did what he needed to do. He had his limits, and it can certainly
be fathomed that he could have done much more damage than he actually did. He
was the confidant to many people, and knew a lot about everyone, but he only
told the king what he really needed to know, he was just doing his duty as
Claudius’ partner. Polonius’ sense of loyalty to Claudius was maintained up
until the last minutes of his life; things are not adequately explained without
him there. Claudius lost his informant, Ophelia and Laertes lost their father,
and Gertrude lost her confidant. With the demise of Polonius came the demise of
the play. Without that buffer between characters, conflicts began to arise
directly. It can be gathered that Polonius was what kept everyone together, yet
apart at the same time. He was what kept direct conflicts out of the picture,
and now that he was dead, the pinnacle of conflict came into play. There was no
one there to confuse the characters, so there was nothing left to do but
confront each other, hence, the death of Polonius lead to the deaths and demise
of the other characters.
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