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Polonius A Fool in Shakespeares Hamlet Hamlet is the most popular of Shakespeares plays for theater audiences and readers It has been acted live in countries throughout the world and has been translated into every language Polonius is one of the major characters in Hamlet his role in the play is of great interest to scholars Parts of Hamlet present Polonius as a fool whose love of his own voice leads to his constant babbling Scholars have been analyzing the character of Polonius for centuries and his role in Hamlet will continue to be analyzed for centuries to come Scholars believe that Shakespeare created Polonius as a fool because of his foolish dialogue throughout the play Polonius granted Laertes permission to go back to school in France While saying good-bye in his chambers Polonius tells his son Beware Of entrance to a quarrel but being in Beart that th opposed may beware of thee Give every man they ear but few thy voice Take each mans censure but reserve they judgment Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy But not expressed 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 or a lender be For loan oft loses both itself and friend And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry This above all to thine own self be true And it must follow as the night the day Thou canst not then be false to any man 1 3 71-87 The advice that Polonius gives to Laertes is simple and sounds foolish being told to a person of Laertes age Martin Orkin comments on the nature of Polonius speech 2 Shakespeares first audience would recognize in Polonius predilection for such commonplace expressions of worldly wisdom a mind that runs along conventional tracks sticking only to what is
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