July 15, 2009
An Analysis of Polonius and His Role as a Father and a Politician
Polonius’s character is designed in an igneous way. Almost everything Polonius does can be looked at from several perspectives. He is an old man in a high political office, which gives him the perception of being very wise. However, he contradicts himself by showing wisdom at particular times in the play and then showing foolishness at others times. Polonius plays many different rolls in the play. However, it is clear that Polonius is a great father but a bad politician.
The advice Polonius gives Laertes proves how great his parenting skills are. Polonius may lack qualities as a politician, but when it comes to his children, he is a supreme master. When giving advice to Laertes, Polonius covers everything imaginable, from telling him not to speak his thoughts to telling him how to dress. This is, no doubt, sincere advice coming from a loving father. Polonius has difficulty letting go of Laertes. Only after Laertes begs Polonius did he finally agree to let Laertes go back to France, telling King Claudius “ h’ath, my lord, wrung from / me my slow leave by laborsome petition, and at last / upon his will I seal’d my hard consent”(Shakespeare, I, ii, 58-60). Like any good parent would, Polonius ends his advice with his blessings and his hope that Laertes will mature by saying “my blessing season this in thee” (Shakespeare, I, iii, 81). This shows Polonius’s concern with Laertes and wishing good things to come from him. Polonius shows very little remorse when letting his son leave. However, it is clear from the advice and blessings given to Laertes that Polonius is a loving and caring father.
As a caring father, Polonius investigates Laertes' stay in Paris. The suspicious father commands his servant, Reynaldo, to follow Laertes and to report on his behavior there, as shown by these lines “you shall do marvel’s wisely, good Reynaldo, / before you...