Polonius


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Po•lo•ni•us

(pəˈloʊ ni əs)

n.
the sententious father of Ophelia and Laertes in Shakespeare's Hamlet.
References in classic literature ?
Polonius, of Coventry Street, and that gentleman never applied for their restoration, but they retired into a little private repository, in an old desk, which Amelia Sedley had given her years and years ago, and in which Becky kept a number of useful and, perhaps, valuable things, about which her husband knew nothing.
This latter device was sometimes adopted at considerable violence to probability, as when Shakspere makes Falstaff bear away Hotspur, and Hamlet, Polonius. Likewise, while the medieval habit of elaborate costuming was continued, there was every reason for adhering to the medieval simplicity of scenery.
But if his father had lived to a good old age, and his uncle had died an early death, we can conceive Hamlet's having married Ophelia, and got through life with a reputation of sanity, notwithstanding many soliloquies, and some moody sarcasms toward the fair daughter of Polonius, to say nothing of the frankest incivility to his father-in-law.
Polonius tries to sound Hamlet in the fishmonger-scene ("I'll board him presently", 2.2.168), uses Ophelia as a decoy when overhearing their conversation (3.1.43ff.), and again spies on the Prince in Gertrude's closet (3.4.1-25); yet he foolishly believes that Hamlet's (seeming) lunacy is caused by "the very ecstasy of love" (2.1.100) and thus fails to discover Hamlet's "mystery".
"After killing Polonius, he wonders whether he pretended to be crazy or not.
Gone are Fortinbras, Marcellus, Osric, among others; gone, the opening sentinels' scene; gone, the salutatory Claudius/Gertrude scene; gone, Laertes's leave-taking scene with Polonius's famous fatherly advice (Laertes appears, eventually, to exact his revenge, but almost at the play's end); gone, "The Murder of Gonzago" (in its place is a scene in ancient Greek).
While not exonerating Claudius' sins (which he does not exonerate, either), today's executives can learn from his seven steps in crisis management after his stepson (and nephew) Hamlet unintentionally killed Polonius.
Burghley was Oxford's father-in-law and by all contemporary accounts a man bearing a close resemblance (in manner, age, and trembling platitude) to the character of Hamlet's Polonius, from whom I've borrowed the second epigraph.
Ironically, the eponymous 'arras', originally the famed product of the town itself, would at this time have been unlikely - had it carried a town-mark - to display the image of the rat as the European production centre for tapestries had long since moved from Arras to Tournai and Brussels, and by the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 'arras' had only a generic application in English.(5) In the London of this period, the arras had also become something of a ubiquitous stage-prop - Ben Jonson, for example, mockingly described parts of his audience as 'stage furniture, or arras-clothes'.(6) However, for most modern readers, the arras lives on most notably in the 'closet scene' of Hamlet where Hamlet stabs through an arras to kill the concealed Polonius (III.iv.21-2).
Mahon senses the silliness latent in all "good advice"; he knows that every concerned father is a potential Polonius, and that the risk of absurdity is perhaps greater when the father is a poet with a checkered past.
To the pompous old courtier Polonius, it appears that Hamlet is lovesick over Polonius' daughter Ophelia.
Perhaps choreographers brushing up their Shakespeare should follow Shakespeare's narratives less slavishly and echo his spirit more poetically, thus, unlike the garrulous Polonius, employing more art and less matter.