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Ministry of Education.

Worksheet 3

Polonius - a caring father or a self-obsessed deceiver whose actions reflect the amoral court in which he works?

Group 1: Polonius and Claudius

  • What is Polonius' position in Elsinore?
  • Look at the end of Act 2 scene 1 - what does he say to his daughter that reflects his sycophancy towards Claudius?
  • Act 2 scene 3: How does Polonius exploit his daughter's unhappiness to curry favour with Claudius?
  • Claudius listens to Polonius and accepts his plan to "loose my daughter to him". If Claudius' supports Polonius, what does this suggest about Polonius' character?

Group 2: Polonius and Laertes

  • In Act 1 Scene 3, Laertes is advised by his father to do what? Find at least three examples of his advice.
  • How is this advice more to do with etiquette than ethics?
  • Why might Polonius' final piece of advice to Laertes be ironic in the light of Act 2 Scene 1?
  • Look at Act 2 scene 1 - what is Polonius willing to believe about his son?
  • What is the reality behind Reynaldo's visit to Paris, on Polonius' instruction?

Group 3: Polonius and Ophelia

  • Act 1 scene 3 - how does Polonius treat Ophelia's love for Hamlet? Is he justified in his advice to her?
  • Act 2 scene 1: How has Polonius' advice to Ophelia potentially made her more unhappy?
  • Act 2 scene 2: how is Ophelia treated in this scene by her father

Further activity: split class in two to debate: Polonius - a caring father or a self-obsessed deceiver?

Published on: 08 Dec 2010