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Polonius by Mind Map: Polonius

1. "Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo... You shall do marvel's wisely, good Reynaldo, Before You visit him, to make inquire Of his behavior."(II.i.)

1.1. Polonious finds certainty in knowledge. As such, he sends a servant to spy on Laertes. He needs certainty that his son has not been been acting in a inappropriate manner, and dishonoring him.

2. His Advice to Laertes

2.1. "Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportioned thought his act."(I.iii.60-62)

2.1.1. This is Polonius trying to make Laertes more like him. Throughout the play, Polonius followed his advice more than Laertes did. From the quiet following of orders from Claudius to analysing Hamlet's actions when he had gone "mad", he showed his more thoughtful side by listening to all the bickering going on around him and trying to find a method to the madness.

2.2. The pointers he gives to Laertes portray Polonius as a very fatherly figure. His tenacious words of advice come out as a start contrast to Hamlet's dysfunctional family. It seems he is trying to hold on to what certainty he has in his own life in terms of his family after seeing it lost in Hamlet's. This starts his character as seeming very reliant on knowledge to maintain certainty in his life. Certainty that cannot be overtaken by anything, even his own honor.

3. His reports to Claudius & Gertrude

3.1. Polonius craves for honor. It is clear from his interactions with the king and queen that he sees them as a way to receive more acceptance. He is constantly trying to prove to them that he is a trustable and honorable minister by pointing out all the things he has done in their favor. When he explains the letter Ophelia received from Hamlet, he feels the need to tell them all he has done to help them in their struggle with hamlet.

3.2. He was surely relieved when he heard from Claudius that he thinks of him, "As of a man faithful and honorable."(II.ii.121) His overzealous remarks about protecting their interests are a large part of his demise. He claims to them that he will,"find Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed Within the center."(II.ii.149-151) which puts a obligation on him to protect that promise because his honor depends on it. It is this commitment to their wishes that becomes the downfall of Polonius.

3.3. "It shall do well. But yet do I believe The origin and commencement of his grief Sprung from neglected love.- How now, Ophelia?"(II.ii.)

3.3.1. His misinterpretations of Hamlet's behavior- goes against earlier advice.

4. His commands to Ophelia

4.1. "And that in way of caution- I must tell you You do not understand yourself so clearly As it behooves my daughter and your honor. What is between you? Give me up the truth."(I.iii.)

4.1.1. He inists that Ophelia stays away from Hamlet. He tells her that she must act "honorably" so that she does not besmirch that family name.

4.2. "This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me; And more above, hath his soliciting, As they fell out by time, by means, and place, All given to mine ear... What do you think of me?"(II.ii.)

4.2.1. He utilizes Ophelia as a tool to gain the favor of the king and queen. His sense of self worth comes from external perceptions of him. His honor lies in the value his word holds.

5. His interactions with Hamlet

5.1. Polonius' reactions to Hamlet's behavior in Act II scene ii shows, being as smart as he is, that he was unable to decipher Hamlet's facade. This leads him to make an incorrect interpretation of the root of Hamlet's behavior. In doing so he goes against the earlier advice he also gave to Laertes. This fatal error will later result in the king disagreeing with his inference. This lessens Polonius esteem of himself. As a means of retribution, Polonius begins to keep a close eye on Hamlet's actions so that he can make astute reports in the future. This eventually leads to his death at the hands of the prince

5.2. "Look whe'e he has not turned his color and has tears in ’s eyes.—Prithee, no more." Polonius is really opposed to Hamlet's view of the world. While Hamlet analysis things emotionally as well as intellectually. Whereas in Polonius is completely in-tune with his intellectual side. Any sight of an emotion clouding someone's judgement is unbearable for him, which is part of why he is so bent to finding the the root to Hamlet's madness.