Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

‘A tale told by an idiot’?

It’s always amusing to me when someone quotes Polonius’ advice to his son, Laertes, as if it were meant to be taken seriously. I suspect that such people never actually watched Hamlet, or if they did, they never understood it.

Polonius: a rat behind the arras of life

Polonius: a rat behind the arras of life?
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Those familiar with the play will remember Polonius as the comic relief. Wrong about everything, but convinced that he is a man of enormous wisdom with words of worth for everyone to hear, he is really a self-infatuated buffoon brim-full of bombast, a bad counselor to the usurping Claudius, an officious spymaster and an inept spy. By the time Hamlet, poking around the arras with a dagger for rats, mistakes him for a “rat” named Claudius and fatally stabs him, most of the audience is unsure whether to laugh or applaud. Usually, it does both.

Originally published as a review of a article urging Polonius’ advice upon its readers. Update: As of 12 April 2015, this article is unavailable because its parent site cannot be reached.

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