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Hamlet

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ACT I SCENE III A room in Polonius' house. 
[Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA]
LAERTESMy necessaries are embark'd: farewell:
And, sister, as the winds give benefit
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.
OPHELIADo you doubt that?
LAERTESFor Hamlet and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute; No more.
OPHELIANo more but so?
LAERTESThink it no more;10
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but you must fear,
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends20
The safety and health of this whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed; which is no further
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs,30
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes:
The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,40
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then; best safety lies in fear:
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
OPHELIAI shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,50
And recks not his own rede.
LAERTESO, fear me not.
I stay too long: but here my father comes.
[Enter POLONIUS]
A double blessing is a double grace,
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
LORD POLONIUSYet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.60
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,70
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;




For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.80
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
LAERTESMost humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
LORD POLONIUSThe time invites you; go; your servants tend.
LAERTESFarewell, Ophelia; and remember well
What I have said to you.
OPHELIA'Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
LAERTESFarewell.
[Exit]
LORD POLONIUSWhat is't, Ophelia, be hath said to you?
OPHELIASo please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
LORD POLONIUSMarry, well bethought:90
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you; and you yourself
Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
If it be so, as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution, I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly
As it behoves my daughter and your honour.
What is between you? give me up the truth.
OPHELIAHe hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.100
LORD POLONIUSAffection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
OPHELIAI do not know, my lord, what I should think.
LORD POLONIUSMarry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby;
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
OPHELIAMy lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honourable fashion.110
LORD POLONIUSAy, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.
OPHELIAAnd hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
LORD POLONIUSAy, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both,
Even in their promise, as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time120
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: in few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,130
The better to beguile. 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: come your ways.
OPHELIAI shall obey, my lord.
[Exeunt]


Next: Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4

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Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 3

From Hamlet, prince of Denmark. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.

Of this scene Coleridge remarks, "This scene must be regarded as one of Shakespeare's lyric movements in the play, and the skill with which it is interwoven with thu dramatic parts is peculiarly an excellence of our poet. You experience the sensation of a pause without the sense of a stop."

1. necessaries, luggage or baggage, as we should say: embark'd, put on board the vessel.

2. as the ... benefit, according as (whenever) from time to time the winds serve, are in a quarter favourable to the sailing of a vessel. Cp. Cymb. iv. 2. 342, "Lucius. When expect you them? Captain. With the next benefit of the wind."

3. And convoy is assistant, and the means of conveying a letter is at hand: i.e. when there is both a favourable wind and a vessel sailing in that direction: for convoy cp. T. C. i. 1. 107, "this sailing Pandar, Our doubtful hope, our convoy and our bark": do not sleep, do not be too lazy to write.

5. For Hamlet ... favour, as for Hamlet and the admiration which he carelessly offers you.

6. Hold it a fashion, regard it as nothing more than a passing fancy, a thing sure to change as quickly as fashion in dress: a toy in blood, a mere caprice of impulse; for toy, cp. i. 4. 75. and Oth. iii. 4. 156, "And no conception nor no jealous toy Concerning you"; for blood, cp. M. A. ii. 1. 187, "beauty is a witch Against whose charms faith melteth into blood."

7. A violet ... nature, as a violet appearing in the early spring - i.e. before its proper season; primy, belonging to the prime, early days of the year; not elsewhere found in Shakespeare, though we have prime = spring, Lucr. 332, Sonnet. xcvii. 2.

8. Forward, not permanent, precocious, but enduring for a short season only.

9. The perfume ... minute, the perfume which a minute affords and which with the minute passes away; merely an amplification of the words sweet, not lasting.

10. No more but so? nothing more than that?

11-4. For nature ... withal, for a man's nature, when in a state of growth, does not show its expansion merely in physical strength and size; but as the body fills out, the mind and soul also expand in the service they inwardly perform, extending their operations to a much wider sphere. In other words, Hamlet as yet is a mere youth, and the scope of his thoughts being but narrow, he finds pleasure in making love to you; but, as he grows older, larger interests will occupy his mind, and he will forget all about you: thews, sinews, strength, from A.S. theaw, habit, custom, behaviour ... the base is thau-, evidently from the Teut. base THU, to be strong" ... (Skeat, Ety. Dict.); temple, body; cp. Macb. ii. 3. 73, "murder hath broke ope The Lord's anointed temple." Caldecott points out that the word is never so used but on great occasions.

14. Perhaps ... now. Laertes does not mean to charge Hamlet with insincerity; his love may be real enough, he says, but it will quickly change.

15, 6. And now ... will, and at present no evil thought or crafty design stains the essential goodness of his intentions towards you; cautel, used here and in the Lover's Complaint, 303, only, though cautelous occurs in Cor. iv. 1. 33; J. C. ii. 1. 129, with the same bad sense; the Lat. cautela, a term of Roman law, from which the word ultimately comes, meant nothing more than a precaution, the acquired invidiousness being probably due to the subtlety of such precautions.

16, 7. but you ... own, but what you have to fear is that, his position in the state being taken into consideration, he is not at liberty to follow his own inclinations.

18. For he ... birth, for he must submit himself to the conditions of his birth; cp. Cymb. ii. 3. 121-6, "And though it be allow'd in meaner parties ... to knit their souls ... in self-figur'd knot; Yet you are curbed from that enlargement by The consequence o' the crown."

19, 20. He may not ... himself, it is not possible for him, like persons of no consequence, to cut out a path for himself in whatever direction pleases him; cp. R. II. ii. 3. 144, "But in this kind to come, in braving arms. Be his own carver and cut out his way": on his choice, on the choice he makes of a wife.

22-4. And therefore ... head, and therefore must that choice be restricted in accordance with the approval and consent of the body politic, whose head he is.

25-7. It fits ... deed, it is incumbent upon you, if you are wise, to put faith in his professions of love only so far as he, acting as he must act in the particular conditions of his rank, is able to give effect to his promises.

27, 8. which is ... withal, and this freedom of action extends no further than it is in accordance with the general wish of the people; withal, when used as a preposition, always in Shakespeare at the end of the sentence.

30. credent, readily believing, credulous; used again in this, its more proper sense in L. C. 279, but in W. T. i. 2. 142, and M. M. iv. 4. 29 (the only other passages in which it occurs) as = credible: list his songs, listen to his love songs; cp. M. N. D. i. 1. 30-3.

31. lose your heart, yield up your love: chaste treasure, treasure consisting in chastity.

32. unmaster'd, which gets the better of him; at a time when he has no control over his passions.

33. it, sc. the danger of accepting and returning his love.

34. And keep ... affection, do not allow yourself to go so far in meeting his wishes as your love for him would prompt you to do.

35. Out of ... desire, out of the dangerous aim of passion.

36. 7. The chariest ... moon, even that maiden who is most chary of allowing her beauty to be gazed upon, and who refuses to let it be gazed upon except by the chaste moon, is in doing so quite as prodigal as she ought to be; 'chary' from "A.S. cearu, caru, care ... thus chary is the adjective of care, and partakes of its double sense, viz.: (1) sorrow, (2) heedfulness; the former of these being the older sense" (Skeat, Ety. Dict.).

38. Virtue ... strokes, not even the very impersonation of virtue is exempt from the shafts of calumny; cp. W. T. ii. 71-4, "these petty brands That calunmy doth use- O, I am out That mercy does, for calumny will sear Virtue itself."

39-42. The canker ... imminent, the firstlings of the spring, even before their buds have opened, are blighted by the canker-worm; and youth while in its first bloom, a flower just washed by the dew of early morning, is most in danger of being withered by pernicious blasts; in plain language, Ophelia's youth and innocence render her most liable to danger. The canker, a small worm that eats into and destroys the flower; a doublet of cancer, literally a crab, the disease being so named from eating into the flesh; galls, literally rubs into a sore; the infants of the spring, cp. L. L. L. i. 1. 101, "Biron is like an envious sneaping frost That bites the first-born infants of the spring"; buttons, buds, the original sense of the word; contagious, pestilential, pernicious, used by Shakespeare of fogs, clouds, darkness, breath, etc.; blastments, the abstract for the concrete.

43. best safety lies in fear, cp. Macb. iii. 5. 32, "And you all know, security - i.e. a sense of safety - is mortals' chiefest enemy. "

44. Youth ... near, "in the absence of any tempter, youth rebels against itself, i.e. the passions of youth revolt from the power of self-restraint; there is a traitor in the camp. The substantive verb is similarly omitted in Cymb. iv. 4, 23," ["Though Cloten then but young"] (Cl. Pr. Edd.).

45, 6. I shall ... heart, I shall keep the purport of this lesson as a safeguard to my heart; I shall lay your lesson to my heart and trust it to act as a watch against all inclinations to weakness; for effect, cp. Tim. iii. 5. 97, "'Tis few in words, but spacious in effect"; good, my brother, see Abb. 13. Coleridge remarks, "You will observe in Ophelia's short and geneial answer to the long speech of Laertes the natural carelessness of innocence, which cannot think such a code of cautions and prudences necessary to its own preservation."

47. ungracious, who have none of that holiness which they preach to others; cp. R. II. ii. 3. 89. "and that word 'grace' In an ungracious mouth is but profane."

49-51. Whiles. ... rede, while, like a debauchee, bloated with indulgence and heedless of all consequence, you tread the flower-strewn path of wanton folly, and have no thought of following the advice you offer to others. There is a confusion of constructions between Whiles like, etc., you tread the, etc., and reck, etc., and Whiles you act like, etc., who treads, etc. For puff'd, cp. Tim. iv. 3. 180, "whose self-same mettle, Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff'd."; for primrose path, Macb. ii. 3. 17, "I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go the primrose way to the everlasting bontire; "rede, from A.S. raed, advice, from which also comes our verb to read.

51. fear me not, do not be anxious on my account.

53. A double ... grace, a double blessing carries with it a double store of happiness; Polonius has already said good-bye (God be with you) once.

54. Occasion ... leave, accident is propitious in allowing us a second farewell.

55. for shame! i.e. you ought to be ashamed of yourself for having delayed so long.

56. sits ... sail, is already filling your sails. The sail when blown out looks like a stooping shoulder; cp. T. C. ii. 2. 74, "Your breath of full consent bellied his sails."

57. And you ... for, and your companions are waiting for you: with thee! go with you!

59. character, inscribe indelibly: cp. T. G. ii. 7. 4, 'I do conjure thee, Who art the table wherein all my thoughts Are visibly character'd and engraved"; in both cases the accent being on the second syllable.

60. Nor any ... act, nor translate into action any ill-regulated thought; cp. Temp. v. 1. 290. "He is as disproportion'd in his manners As in his shape"; Oth. iii. 3. 233, "Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural"; his act, the act which would be the consequence of the thought; his = its.

61. Be thou ... vulgar, show yourself ready to be upon intimate terms with your acquaintances, but do not make yourself too common: cp. i. H. IV. iii. 2. 60, etc., where Henry describes how Richard forfeited all respect by making himself too common.

62, 3. Those friends ... steel, bind to your very soul those friends you have, and whose adoption by you has been put to the proof. On Pope's reading hooks, which has been accepted by Malone and others, the Cl. Pr. Edd. remark that it "makes the figure suggested by 'grapple' the very reverse of what Shakespeare intended; grappling by hooks is the act of an enemy and not of a friend." To this it might be replied that in H. V. iii. Chor. 18, we have "Grapple your minds to sternage of this navy," where, though the idea of grappling-hooks is evidently present, there is no thought of hostility. But the figure is probably taken from hooping together the several staves of a cask, etc., so as to form one compact whole; cp. ii. H. IV. iv. 4. 43-7, "A hoop of gold to bind thy brothers in, That the united vessel of their blood ... shall never leak"; A. C. ii. 2. 117, "Yet if I knew What hoop should hold us stanch": and their adoption tried, is taken by Delius as a participial parenthesis, and this seems to me the most probable construction, since hast is not here an auxiliary verb.

64, 5. But do not ... comrade, but do not make yourself incapable of judging between the value of one man and another by accepting the offer of friendship made by anyone with whom you are thrown, however raw and inexperienced in the world he may be. The figure is that of depriving the sense of touch of that delicate sensitiveness which enables a man to distinguish with nicety between different surfaces: cp. v. 1. 65, 6, "The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense"; Cymb. i. 6. 106, "join gripes with hands Made hard with hourly falsehood."

65-7. Beware ... thee, be cautious about engaging in a quarrel, but when once engaged in it, carry matters in such a way that your enemy may in future hesitate about provoking you.

68. Give ... voice, be ready to listen to what each man has to say, but be chary of giving your own views.

69. Take ... judgement, hear each man's opinion, but forbear to deliver your own decision as to its merits; censure, opinion, the wider and original meaning of the word; the present limited sense of unfavourable opinion being due to the fact that men are more ready to blame than to praise.

70. Costly ... buy, let your dress be as costly as your means will allow.

71. But not ... gaudy, but do not let its costliness be shown by its being fanciful, extravagant; let it be rich looking, but not showy.

72. For the apparel ... man, for his dress is often an indication of the wearer's character.

73, 4. And they ... that, the quartos give 'Are (or 'Or') of a most select and generous, chiefe (or cheefe) in that'; the folios, 'Are of a most select and generous cheff in that.' The reading in the text, which is Rowe's, is adopted by most modern editors, and gives a certain sense, to wit, the men of highest birth and rank in France, priding themselves as they do upon their taste, and addicted as they are to what is rich and noble-looking, show those tendencies in matters of dress more than in anything else; chief, as a substantive, in the sense of 'eminence.' 'superiority,' or in that of 'note,' 'estimation,' commends itself to some editors: while Staunton and Ingleby, who retain of a, advocate sheaf, in the sense of 'clique,' 'class,' 'set,' the figure, according to the former, being borrowed from archery, in the affected phraseology of the Euphuists, according to the latter, partly from archery, partly from husbandry.

76. For loan ... friend, for by lending to a friend you often lose both the money itself and the friendship of him to whom you lent it, sc. owing to the disputes arising from his not repaying his debt.

77. dulls ... husbandry, takes the fine edge off economy; makes a man less thrifty than he would be if he knew that nobody would lend him money; for husbandry, cp. Macb. ii. 1. 4, "There's husbandry in heaven; Their candles are all out," said of a dark night.

79. as the night, as surely as the night follows.

81. season, give durability; cp. iii. 2. 219. Polonius hopes that his blessing accompanying his advice will make it more lasting than it would otherwise be, just as wood is seasoned by weather.

83. The time invites you, i.e. it is high time that you should; tend, wait for, are expecting, you.

86. And you ... it, and unless you say that it is no longer necessary for me to keep it safely, it shall ever remain there.

89. So please you, if it so please you (the 'if' being inherent in the subjunctive); a deprecatory form of courtesy.

90. Marry, a corruption of the name Mary, i.e. the Mother of Christ, in order to avoid the statute against profane swearing; well bethought, that is fortunately thought of; I am glad you should have reminded me of the subject.

92. Given ... you, spent upon you in private some of the leisure at his disposal: the turn of the sentence seems to show that private comprises the character of the time, i.e. time that Hamlet could call his own, time that was not needed for public purposes, and also the manner in which he spent that time, sc. privately with Ophelia; for thc former sense, cp. H. V. iv. 1. 254, "What infinite heart's-ease Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy"; for the latter, M. N. D. i. 1. 116, "I have some private schooling for you both.'

93. Have ... bounteous, have been more ready to listen to him than you should have been.

94. as so ... me, for so I have been informed; not, I think, suggested (though the expression is common enough in that sense), the suggestion here being contained in the next line; cp. M. M. ii. 2. 133, "Why do you put these sayings upon me?"

95. And that ... caution, and informed with the object of putting me upon my guard; And that, emphasizes the object with which he was told; must, cannot help.

96, 7. You do not ... honour, you have not such a clear conception as you ought to have of what becomes you as my daughter and as a modest maiden.

98. What is between you? What understanding or agreement exists between you?; give ... truth, tell me without keeping anything back.

99. tenders, offers.

101. green, raw, inexperienced, foolish; cp. iv. 5. 99.

102. Unsifted ... circumstance, one that has not been sifted, tried, by experience of such dangerous matters; cp. ii. H. IV. iv. 1. 194, "We shall be winnowed with so rough a wind That even our coin shall seem as light as chaff. "

104. what I should think, what to believe.

106. 7. That you ... sterling, for having taken as current coin these offers which are of no sterling value; sterling, first applied to the English penny, said to be so called from the Easterlings or North Germans, who were the first moneyers in England.

107. Tender ... dearly, put a higher value upon yourself.

108. to crack ... phrase, to ride the phrase to death.

109. Running it thus, carrying on the figure of a horse being ridden till, broken-winded, it comes to a stand-still; Running is Collier's correction of the reading of the folios, Roaming: tender me a fool, present me to the world as a fool, show me as a fool; tender = hold dear, from F. tendre (adj.), Lat. tener, tender; tender = offer, from F. tendre (vb.), Lat. tendere, to stretch.

110. 1. he hath ... fashion, he has made me urgent proposals of honourable love.

112. Ay, ... it, you are quite right to use the word fashion, for his proffers of love are but a mere fashion, something that will change quickly enough; cp. above, 1. 6: go to, go to, nonsense, nonsense; a common phrase of contemptuous reproof, or, as sometimes, of exhortation.

113, 4. And hath ... heaven, and has confirmed his vows by almost every possible appeal to heaven; countenance, credit, authority, as in i. H. IV. iii. 2. 65, and the verb, ii. H. IV. iv. 1. 35.

115. Ay, ... woodcocks, yes (said scornfully), snares to catch fools. The woodcock, from its being easily snared, or from its being supposed to have but little brain, was a frequent equivalent for a fool, simpleton.

116. When the blood burns, when passion is strong, when the heart is inflamed with passion: prodigal, for adjectives used adverbially, see Abb. 1.

117-20. these blazes ... fire, these flashes of passion, which give forth more light than warmth, and of which both the light and the warmth die out even at the moment of their promise, while it is yet in the course of being made, you must not mistake for the fire which burns with steady and comforting warmth; promise seems to be used with an allusion to its literal meaning, that which is sent forth, and so perhaps in J. C. iv. 2. 24, "like horses hot at hand, Make gallant show and promise of their mettle"; as it is a-making is an expansion of Even in their promise; for the prefix a-, = on, in, of, before adjectives and participles used as nouns, see Abb. 24.

121. Be somewhat ... presence, show the reserve which becomes a maiden by allowing him fewer opportunities of meeting you; maiden, from its position, seems to have this emphatic sense.

122, 3. Set your ... parley, put a higher value upon yourself than to consider the entreaties you receive from him as a command, which you cannot disregard, to enter into negotiations; your, used objectively, of which you are the object.

124-6. Believe ... you, so far, and so far only, let your belief in him go as to bear in mind that he is young, and therefore both eager and changeable, and that to him, as a man, a larger license in making love is allowable than to you in accepting love; do not be over-credulous in trusting him, but remember that his youth and his sex are both to be considered in estimating his professions of love; in few, to sum up shortly; for adjectives used as nouns, even in the singular, see Abb. 5.

127, 8. for they ... show, for they are go-betweens that do not show themselves in their true colours; for investments = dress, cp. ii. H. IV. iv. 1. 45, "Whose white investments figure innocence."

129. mere... suits, nothing but advocates to urge disgraceful proposals; cp. L. C. 173, "vows were even brokers to defiling."

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How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, prince of Denmark. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1919. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet_1_3.html >.
How to cite the scene review questions:
Mabillard, Amanda. Hamlet: Scene Questions for Review. Shakespeare Online. 27 Nov. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet_1_3.html >.
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Scene Questions for Review

microsoft images 1. What does Laertes think of Hamlet?

2. Does Ophelia understand Laertes' true nature?

3. How is Laertes similar to his father, Polonius?

4. Some would describe Ophelia as perceptive, loyal and fragile. Would you agree?

5. Is Polonius a foil to Hamlet? Does Polonius' shallowness serve to highlight Hamlet's thoughtful nature?

6. What importance should we place on Polonius' pun on the word tender? Is he more concerned about his own wit than Ophelia's feelings?

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On Laertes ... "In his lecture to Ophelia, he insists that the Prince is trifling with her heart; that his love, but the first glow of the springtide of life, is not serious and will surely die with his young years. But Ophelia, who has had ample means of knowing Hamlet better than her brother, judges differently, and, by an unwillingness to discuss the delicate subject, laconically implies her doubts of the correctness of his judgment." Simon Augustine Blackmore. Read on...

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Soliloquy Analysis: To be, or not to be... (3.1)
 
Soliloquy Analysis: Tis now the very witching time of night... (3.2)
 
Soliloquy Analysis: Now might I do it pat... (3.3)
 
Soliloquy Analysis: How all occasions do inform against me... (4.4)

 
The Dumb-Show: Why Hamlet Reveals his Knowledge to Claudius
 Ophelia's Burial and Christian Rituals
 The Baker's Daughter: Ophelia's Nursery Rhymes
 Hamlet as National Hero
 Claudius and the Condition of Denmark

 In Secret Conference: The Meeting Between Claudius and Laertes
 O Jephthah - Toying with Polonius
 The Death of Polonius and its Impact on Hamlet's Character
 Blank Verse and Diction in Shakespeare's Hamlet

 Hamlet's Silence
 An Excuse for Doing Nothing: Hamlet's Delay
 Foul Deeds Will Rise: Hamlet and Divine Justice
 Defending Claudius - The Charges Against the King
 Shakespeare's Fools: The Grave-Diggers in Hamlet

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Did You Know? ... In Shakespeare's day "the place for the hat was frequently upon the head; but quite as often the hat was worn dangling down the back at the end of a brightly-coloured ribbon. It was worn in either place, either within or without doors. The hair was usually cut short, with, however, a love lock left long behind one or both of the ears. It was adorned with pretty bows of ribbon. Men painted the face quite as frequently and as carefully as the women. The moustache was sometimes left very long. Hair, moustache, and beard were coloured as fancy prompted." Henry Thew Stephenson. Read on...

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 Hamlet's Humor: The Wit of Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark
 All About Yorick
 Hamlet's Melancholy: The Transformation of the Prince
 Hamlet's Antic Disposition: Is Hamlet's Madness Real?

 The Significance of Ophelia's Flowers
 Ophelia and Laertes
 Mistrusted Love: Ophelia and Polonius
 The Significance of the Ghost in Armor
 Shakespeare's View of the Child Actors Through Hamlet

 Divine Providence in Hamlet
 What is Tragic Irony?
 Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
 Shakespeare's Sources for Hamlet

 Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy
 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Influence on Other Writers