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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: September ::
Comments on Polonius
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1793  Thursday, 30 September 2004

From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 29 Sep 2004 08:02:10 -0500
Subject:        Comments on Polonius

HR Greenberg wrote,

 >Polonius is a dodderer of shifting identities...

Of shifting identities, yes; a dodderer, no - that is, if by "dodderer"
you characterize the man as he is so ineptly presented in Olivier's
production. Polonius is the First Minister of State and, had he been a
dodderer, most unlikely to be where he is politically; certainly he
would not be kept on and listened to by the deep, devious, politically
savvy Claudius. When, while instructing Reynaldo,  Polonius says "Where
did I leave?" (i.e., "What was I just saying?"), this is an order (and
with a snap of the fingers), not a request. People in such high places
need not depend on their own memory; others remember for them. Who
interprets Polonius as a dodderer must be prepared to show why a man
like Claudius would listen to such a person, be advised by him.

L. Swilley

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