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Foolish Insults and Insulting Fools

Foolish Insults and Insulting Fools - Foolish Insults and...

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Foolish Insults and Insulting Fools Hamlet, considered quite insane by both characters in the book Hamlet and readers of the play, pulls off many feigned acts of madness and remains, in fact, in complete control of his psyche. Those he does not admire, he manages to insult directly without their knowledge. Shakespeare presents one example—in Act two, Scene 2—after Claudius and Polonius have decided to spy on Hamlet and Ophelia from behind the tapestry. In the dialogue that ensues with Hamlet and Polonius, Hamlet manages to offend Polonius in many caustic ways without Polonius’s knowledge. Using metaphors and symbolism in addition to his feigned madness as a cover, Hamlet successfully makes a fool of Polonius. Hamlet directs the first of a series of bitter jests at Polonius by calling him a “fishmonger” in response to Polonius’s question, "Do you know me, my lord?" The insult results from Hamlet’s intuition that Polonius made Ophelia break off her relationship with Hamlet by which Hamlet seems to have been considerably hurt. In Hamlet's opinion, Polonius sacrificed his
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