Polonius Monologue (Act 1 Scene 3)


The story of Hamlet could be very a lot a household drama. Although the play is about in a royal palace in Denmark, the story which unfolds is born from the relationships between relations. The connection which is most prevalent and examined within the play is that of Father and son. Hamlet’s relationship to his Father and the impact it has on Hamlet is witnessed and examined by the viewers, despite the fact that Hamlet’s Father is a ghost – that’s irrelevant. Fortinbras embarks on an epic quest for revenge after the loss of life of his Father. The third Father now we have on this play is Polonius, father to Laertes and Ophelia. Within the Polonius household now we have uncommon moments of tenderness and connection between relations on this play. Polonius’ speech, giving recommendation to his son as he’s about to embark on a coming-of-age journey, is a really fashionable and transferring expression of affection and concern from a Father to a son.


The precepts speech from Polonius is the viewers’s introduction to the Polonius household, containing Polonius, Laertes and Ophelia. Laertes is about to board a ship which is able to take him to France, the place he needs to return as a way to proceed his travels and life there. (Laertes is actually returning to a ‘hole yr’ journey.) Laertes has solely returned for the coronation of the brand new King Claudius, (and doubtless the funeral of King Hamlet) so this time for the household to be reunited has most definitely been brief and all too fleeting for Polonius.

Polonius is an advisor to the King of Denmark, although he himself shouldn’t be royal. This is a crucial distinction to make – he exists within the royal court docket and is an integral half to its perform, however he, in the end, is disposable. Polonius is a cautious and suspicious man, endlessly surmising the reason for the actions of others and poking his nostril in different individuals’s affairs. He’s concerned with the worldwide affairs of the state, in addition to the non-public actions of the royal home.

Unique Textual content

But right here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for disgrace!
The wind sits within the shoulder of your sail,
And you might be keep’d for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy reminiscence
See thou character. Give thy ideas no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou acquainted, however certainly not vulgar.
These buddies thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of metal;
However don’t uninteresting thy palm with leisure
Of every new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, however being in,
Bear’t that the opposed could watch out for thee.
Give each man thy ear, however few thy voice;
Take every man’s censure, however reserve thy judgment.
Expensive thy behavior as thy purse can purchase,
However not categorical’d in fancy; wealthy, not gaudy;
For the attire oft proclaims the person.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For mortgage oft loses each itself and good friend,
And borrowing dulls the sting of husbandry.
This above all: to thine personal self be true,
And it should observe, because the night time the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

Unfamiliar Language

Precepts: Recommendation, rules, guidelines for all times
Blessing: It appears that evidently Polonius could also be giving Laertes one thing on this second, cash or a token of remembrance. Alternatively a gesture, like a hug or handshake.
Unproportioned: out of proportion, inappropriate
Acquainted: pleasant, current, type
Hoops: ropes, knots, ties
New-hatch’d: Newly born
Unfledged: youthful, inexperienced
Bear’t: make it so
Censure: disapproval, criticism, criticism
Husbandry: administration and conservation of assets

Trendy Translation

You’re nonetheless right here, Laertes? Board the ship, hurry up!
The ship is able to embark and they’re ready for you!
Take this; I’m leaving you with my blessings for a protected voyage.
And, in addition to that, keep in mind these few rules – take word.
Don’t let your ideas be identified, or any inappropriate act be achieved.
Be pleasant with individuals however respectable, not frequent and vulgar.
Tie your closest and truest buddies to your soul with metal chains,
However don’t simply let any stranger be one in every of your shut buddies.
Be cautious about coming into right into a struggle, however when you do find yourself in a single,
ensure your opponent is extra nervous about you than you might be of him.
Take heed to everybody, however communicate your ideas to few.
Take heed to how others criticise, however reserve your individual judgement of others.
Gown in addition to you may afford, however don’t be a showcase.
Look respectable, not pompous, as a result of the clothes of a person usually
tells the viewer lots concerning the man.
Don’t lend cash or borrow it, for it’ll make you worse at managing your life.
That is what’s most essential: Be true to your self, and what’s going to observe (as absolutely because the night time follows the day) can be your honour and fact to these round you.
Goodbye. By blessings go along with you!

Notes on Efficiency

Many interpretations of Polonius have been depicted by the years. Typically he’s depicted as a bumbling outdated idiot, typically a malicious conspirator with King Claudius, typically a crafty politician, and typically a loving and naive outdated man. What’s most helpful for us in approaching this speech to Laertes (and Ophelia, for the report) is connecting with the textual content in as truthful and relatable a vogue as is feasible. There’s a danger in layering judgement on high of this explicit speech; making an announcement that the character is a method or one other, (bumbling, crafty) is robbing the viewers of experiencing the character by the phrases he’s saying and making up their minds for themselves.

At its core, this speech depicts a Father making an attempt to speak along with his son, doubtlessly for the final time shortly. The tragic irony of this speech is that these are, in actual fact, the final phrases that the Father and son communicate to one another. What is beneficial for us to notice is what shouldn’t be stated in these precepts. Many items of recommendation are given: respect your self, costume nicely, be careful for fights (however ensure you win) ect, however many phrases are left unsaid. “I really like you, son” for instance, stays unsaid. “Write to me usually” stays unsaid. “Watch out, take care of your self” stays unsaid. “I’ll miss you” stays unsaid. Now, it’s as much as the actor to find out which of those phrases (or others) exist inside your interpretation of the scene, however this can be a choice which have to be made. If these precepts solely exist on the floor, if all which is being stated are these items of recommendation, the scene and speech is robbed of soul and stakes.

Work out for your self what Polonius needs to have the ability to say, and categorical that sentiment as desperately as you may by the phrases you could have on the web page.

We don’t hear of a ‘Mrs Polonius’ at any level within the play of Hamlet. It’s essential to think about this piece of proof inside the given circumstance of the Polonius household. The place is the mom determine, and the way lengthy has she been gone? Has she handed away in childbirth, (to Ophelia – being the youthful) and if that’s the case, how has Polonius gone with being a single Dad while being an essential political determine – the advisor to 2 Kings? Does this second of farewell convey up the reminiscence of his spouse? Does Ophelia remind him of her? It’s your activity to ask these questions and plenty of others to construct an in depth internal life for Polonius.


There’s a purple herring in the way in which Shakespearean appearing is commonly taught: actors are sometimes informed there may be ‘no subtext in Shakespeare’. I disagree with this notion solely. Shakespeare is writing three-dimensional human beings. To painting them as having no deeper exercise than the phrases that are popping out of their mouths is to ensure a floor stage efficiency. The characters will most definitely imply what they are saying, positive. However this doesn’t imply that the phrases which they’re saying are all that they’re saying, or all that they’re feeling. Go above and past along with your development of Polonius’ character. Really feel and perceive what he actually needs to say to his son, and permit that to dwell inside you within the efficiency. Pursue the earnestness of this speech earlier than imposing prosthetic traits on high of it. The viewers will take from this speech what they may, whether or not they discover it coronary heart warming or indulgent.

On the finish of the day, the characters in Hamlet are determined for an genuine and sincere reference to a cherished one. This is likely one of the few moments within the play the place this happens. Relish that chance and apply your individual life expertise into the phrases, I assure it’ll make the expertise all of the extra priceless for you.

For extra Hamlet Monologues


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