Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Polonius Artz

Polonius, chief counselor to King Claudius is the father of Ophelia and Laertes. He is described as being a "busy body, a bumbling old fool, rude and a devout father."

He gives his son Laertes leave to go to Paris and then sends a servent to spy on him. He tells his daughter to avoid Hamlet because it will interfere with his relationship with King Claudius and later claims it was because she was beneath Hamlet's social status.

                                           Polonius & Ophelia

He spies on Hamlet while he is with his mother, Queen Gertrude and is accidently killed by Hamlet who thought he was killing King Claudius, whom by the way had killed King Hamlet. Ophelia looses her mind and kills herself while her brother, seeking revenge challenges Hamlet to a duel.

Polonius may have been written to be a jest. To poke fun at William Cecil, 1st Baron of Burleigh, Lord Burleigh who was the chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth.

                                                    William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
                                                   attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

When Hamlet was to be performed at Oxford University the name Polonius was changed to Corambis because the name Polonius was too close in spelling to the founder of Oxford, Robert Polenius. They did not wish to inflcit insult.

Or, it could have been Corambis all along until the author of the play learned of the grave insult the diplomat from Poland had angered Queen Elizabeth with and in a moment of revenge changed the name of the despicable character to Polonius which is Latin for Poland.

This week we present Polonius Artz.

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