1 year ago
Monday, May 16, 2011
Polonius, the Lord Chancellor, can’t figure out just what’s the matter with the young prince.
He should be content; the country has a new king, a queen who is obviously very happy – all Denmark is celebrating.
But moody young Hamlet just sits with his nose in a book.
Polonius is determined to find out what is wrong. Shakespeare’s famous scene in Act Two beautifully sums up what happens when a stodgy, tedious old bureaucrat tries to deal with, or even understand, a young guy who is astute and sharp-witted.
The Lord Chancellor approaches the Prince.
Polonius: Do you know me, my lord?
Hamlet: Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Polonius: Not I, my lord.
Hamlet: Then I would you were so honest a man.
Polonius: What are you reading, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Polonius: What is the matter?
Hamlet: Between who?
Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Hamlet: Slanders, sir. Though I most powerfully and potently believe that you could grow as old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.
Polonius: My lord, I will take my leave of you.
Hamlet: You could not take from me anything I would not more willingly part with – except my life, except my life, except my life.