A monologue from the play "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare

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About this Monologue

  • Character: Lord Polonius
  • Gender: Male
  • Age Range(s): Senior (>50)
  • Type of monologue / Character is: Persuasive, Inspirational
  • Type: Dramatic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Tragedy
  • Description: Lord Polonius bids his son farewell
  • Location: ACT I, Scene 3

Summary

The play is set in Denmark at the Castle Elsinore. The King Hamlet has just died and his brother, Claudius, has replaced him and also married his dead brother's wife, Gertrude. In the second scene of ACT I, Claudius addresses the court on his recent marriage to Gertrude, on political matters and also gives his blessings to Laertes, the son of the Lord Chamberlain Polonius, who is about to leave for France. He then turns to Hamlet, who is still mourning his father and doesn't seem to get over it. Even if it's natural to mourn his father's death, he argues, he should get over it.

In Scene 3 of ACT I, Polonius bids ...

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Excerpt

LORD POLONIUS
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd 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 nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!



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