A Hamlet timeline – chronicle of events
Setting the Timeline – considerations
Claudius – planning my foul murder
King Hamlet's funeral – where was Hamlet?
Gertrude & Claudius – adultery or not?
Horatio – Hamlet's friend?
Horatio – is he passion's slave?
Polonius – the evil that men do
Ophelia's love? – did she love Hamlet?
Ophelia closetted – Polonius on love
O help xxx ....... – Olivier's version
Ophelia's change – is Hamlet suspicious?
Hamlet feigns madness – protective "cover"
Is Hamlet mad? – Polonius's opinion
The Trial of Claudius – Hamlet's prosecution
Hamlet kills Polonius – stabs the "Voice"
Laertes v Hamlet – poisoned foil
Ophelia's death – a recipe
Hamlet's age – digging up the past
Yorick – something rotting in Denmark
Betting on Hamlet – the fencing match
Hamlet's fencing skill – better than Laertes
Hamlet's revenge – the rest is silence
Polonius on Hamlet
Does Polonius always think Hamlet is mad?
Act I begins at midnight and continues until a few hours after the next midnight. It is in the last hour that Hamlet proposes pretending to be mad.
Act II begins about two months later. Ophelia tells Polonius that Hamlet has visited her. He was crazily-dressed and acted so strange that she was very frightened.
Ophelia: "As you did command, I did repel his letters and denied his access to me."Meanwhile, the King and Queen ask Rozencrantz and Guildenstern to try to find why Hamlet is mad. Polonius tells the King and Queen "...I have found the very cause of Hamlet's madness." He then explains what he has found:-
Polonius: I precepts gave her,A few minutes later Polonius talks to Hamlet and it is evident he still thinks Hamlet is mad. Polonius says "he knew me not at first. 'A said I was a fishmonger. 'A is far gone, far gone." and then "Though this be madness, yet there is method in it."
The next morning, in the nunnery scene, Polonius tries to prove Hamlet's madness is caused by love for Ophelia. The King disagrees that this is the cause but Polonius is not put off and tries again by hiding in the Queen's closet. The Queen allows this event simply because she thinks Hamlet is mad. Suddenly, the Queen thinks the madman is going to kill her and she panics "What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me? Help, help, ho!"
That is an understandable reaction from the Queen, but what would Polonius have thought when he heard her yell out? Consider the alternatives:-
In summary, Polonius always thinks Hamlet is crazy!