Polonius should die…“How now! A rat?” (3.4.27).“Polonius was weak and a pedantic statesmen”(Warburton).“Characterization of Polonius as a foolish„meddler,‟ arguing instead that he should beviewed as a seasoned political insider whosedownfall comes as he result of „overconfidenceabout his schemes and his mastery ofmanipulative tactics.” (Sacks)Disloyal andScheming
Polonius should die…“And I‟ll be placed, so please you, in the ear of all theirconference. If she find him not, to England send him.”(3.1.184,185)“Polonius is not the cunning spy he fancies himself to be;good spies do not get caught, much less killed.”“The plays repealed references to Poloniuss old agesuggest his senility. In the stage direction at the opening of2.1, for example, Shakespeare writes: „Enter old Polonius‟(SD 2.1.1.). Shakespeare hardly ever includes adjectives inhis stage directions, so when he does, it seems reasonablelo suppose that the adjective carries particularimportance.”(Sacks)
No, he should live“spying twice behind an arras, though it certainlydoes not dignify Polonius, is yet the move of a mansincerely concerned by his lights to help . . . cureseemingly dangerous madness in his prince”(Wilson 84).“Hamlet has spent the entire play thus faragonizing over whether to kill a man who deserveskilling, yet when he kills a man who, thoughofficious, does not deserve to be killed” (Sacks).Rebuttal
Polonius should live…“I have a daughter that I love passing well” (2.2.370)."At such a time Ill lose my daughter to him . . ." (2.2.14)“That hath made him mad. I am sorry that with better heedand judgment I had not quoted him” (2.2.122-24)."My lord, hes going to his mothers closet: Behind the arrasIll convey myself To hear the process, Ill warrant shell taxhim home . . ." (3.3.29-31).Concerned andWise
Polonius should live…“Or look‟d upon this love with idle sight . . . No, I wentround to work” (2.2.145-6).“Indeed, Hamlet‟s frequently roguish behavior towardOphelia, typified by his crude language in (3.2.108-128), suggests that Polonius might have good reason tofear for his daughter.” (Sacks)“To Polonius, the experienced old politician, it isinconceivable that a prince would bear true affectionfor one of lower status, and therefore he canunderstand Hamlets overtures as nothing more than adeception and an attempt to entrap his chastedaughter” (Shelden 356).
No, he should die“Perhaps the worst thing that Polonius does toOphelia is to rob her of her independence ofthought. When Ophelia, confused about Hamletstrue motives, declares to herfather…Polonius uses this occasion as anopportunity lo brainwash his daughter intoadopting his view of Hamlet. Since Ophelia hastrouble thinking and functioning for herself, itshould come as no surprise that she goes mad(and might even commit suicide)after Polonius dies.” (Sacks)Rebuttal
Conclusion for PoloniusDIESNEAKYDISLOYALCUNNINGUNTRUSTWORTHYLIVELOVINGCONCERNEDWISEGOOD INTENTIONS
Rosencrantz andGuildenstern should live“Hamlet: [Aside] „Nay, then, I have an eye ofyou.--If you love me, hold not off.‟Guildenstern: „My lord, we were sent for.‟”(2.2.9)“Together the three share an affection forwhat is pleasurable as can be witnessed intheir lively exchange of sexual puns. Hamletis being neither ironic nor superficial when hegreets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, "Myexcellent good friends! ... Good lads, how toye both?" (2.2.241-243).Loyal and Good Friends
Rosencrantz andGuildenstern should live“My immediate purpose is merely toshow that the theme of friendship runsthrough out the entire play- that itappears even where it might seem tovanish briefly.”“By the consonance of our youth, bythe obligation of our ever preservedlove”(2.2285-6)
No, they should die"Blood, do you think that I am easier to beplayed on than a pipe? Call me whatinstrument you will, though you can fret meyou cannot play upon me" (3.3.317-318).“Their betrayal of friendship is in order togain the court‟s favor” (Doubt).Rebuttal
Rosencrantz andGuildenstern should die"We both obey, And here give up ourselvesin the full bent, To lay our service freely atyou feet, To be commanded." (2.2.31-34)“The single and peculiar life is bound, With allthe strength and armor of the mind” (3.3.12-13)“Take you me for a sponge, my lord?”“Ay, sir; that soaks up the king‟scountenance, his rewards, his authorities”(4.3.14).Puppets and Betrayal
Rosencrantz andGuildenstern should die“their defeat does by their own insinuationgrow. . .” (5.2.61-63)“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not goodin themselves; they are hollow men.”
No, they should live“It seems clear that the King was theone to blame for Rosencrantz andGuildenstern‟s actions, for it was he whoforced it upon them.”Rebuttal
Conclusion for Rosencrantz andGuildensternDIEBETRAYALSELFISHPUPPETSWEAK MINDEDLIVEFRIENDSLOYALHELPFULVERY WORRIED
Works CitedDoubt, Keith. “Hamlet and Friendship.” Hamlet Studies 17.1/2 (1995): 54-62. Rpt. In Shakespearean Criticism. Ed.Michelle Lee. Vol. 82. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Nov. 2012Fejervdri, Boloizsdr. “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern meet Edward II: a Study in Intertextuality.” The AnaChronis T.1-17. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web. 22 Oct. 2012."Hamlet by William Shakespeare." Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 82. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 1-81. Literature Criticism Online. Web. 29 November 2012Sacks, Michael. “Conniving and Bumbling, Yet Sometimes Wise: An Examination of the Many Facets of Polonius.”Shakespeare Newsletter. Fall 2010: 55+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Nov. 2012Shakespeare, William. “Hamlet.” Compact Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R.Mandell. 8th ed. Boston: Wassworth, 2013. 1335-1432. Print.Sheldon, Michael. “The Imagery of Constraint in Hamlet.” Shakespeare Quarterly. 28.3 (1977): 355-358. JSTOR. Web. 24Nov. 2012.Straussler, Tom. “Reference Guide to English Literature.” Ed. D. L. Kirkpatrick. 2nd ed. Chicago: St. James Press,1991. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.Tardeiff, Joseph C. “Shakespearean Criticism.” Ed. Church, Tony. Shakespearean Criticism. Detroit: C.J. Jonik, 1993. 416-20.Print. Vol. 21.Wilson, Elkin Calhoun. “Polonius in the Round.” Shakespeare Quarterly. 9.1 (1958): 83-85. JSTOR. Web. 24 Nov.2012.