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Word Count: 714
Character Analysis of Polonius Although Polonius is not a main character in Hamlet he serves to reinforce the pattern of corruption and demonstrates the social and moral decay of Denmark His devious ways show the audience that he is one of many characters who lack conviction and integrity Throughout Hamlet Polonius is a hypocrite who looks out for his own interests and betrays those he should be loyal to These aspects of his character are revealed in his relationships with the King Ophelia Laertes and Hamlet Polonius can be described as Janus-faced Janus was a god from Roman mythology who had two faces each looking in opposite directions Similarly Polonius is two-faced in his interactions with people One example of this is his relationship with the King Polonius was King Hamlets loyal servent well liked and trusted by King Hamlet Gertrude and Hamlet But his loyalty to King and Prince Hamlet is limited Polonius proclaims his loyalty to Claudius the new King in the following speech I assure my good liege I hold my duty as I hold my soul both to God and to my gracious king IIii43-45 If Polonius was actually loyal to King Hamlet then he would have never supported the deceitful murderous Claudius This speech also addresses the issue of Polonius moral integrity He claims that his soul belongs to God Yet if he was the devout Christian that he claimed to be he would have been honorable and loyal to his children and King Hamlet Another Christian value which Polonius talks about is honor In Act I Scene iii line 96 Polonius says to Ophelia You do not understand yourself so clearly as it behooves my daughter and your honor This scene shows how much of a hypocrite he is he constantly does dishonorable deeds yet he is preaching to Ophelia to act honorably Polonius makes decisions based on benefiting himself not on the
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