Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit

Polonius is the protagonist in Hamlet whose sayings and speeches are not considered brief. He is frequently verbose and overly descriptive, repeating himself. As a result, his expression “brevity is the soul of wit” contradicts his conduct.

The meaning of brevity is a well-known phrase. The essence of wit is succinctness and clarity. Speech must be concise and intelligible in order to be convincing and helpful. People should express their intellect in as few words as possible, according to the phrase’s meaning.

The idea that brevity is the soul of wit implies that a person should use the smallest language possible to express his or her thoughts, ideas, or beliefs. In other words, people can demonstrate their intellect by being brief and avoiding long explanations. Others will not be fatigued by a lengthy discussion around them.

Polonius is a good example of vanity, stupidity, and hypocrisy in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In scene 2, he discusses matters with Claudius and Gertrude:

“My liege, and madam, to expostulate

What majesty should be, what duty is,

What day is day, night night, and time is time,

Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,

I will be brief. Your noble son is mad …”

He informs us that he is succinct by stating something significant with a few words. He goes on talking, circling around to describe Hamlet’s possible madness.

Polonius is a devoted subject who, while serving King Claudius, does not forget about his own interests. Polonius instructs his son – Laertes on how to comport oneself in polite society. The father advises his son to keep a low profile, talk less, and listen more. He encourages caution and logical thinking when taking action. This advice was given for one purpose: to create an advantage without putting himself at risk. Polonius disregards the needs of others. His worldview is individualistic; that is, appearance matters far more than honesty in reality.

Spying is how Polonius gathers intelligence in the play. He utilizes it at the request of Claudius to gain information on Prince Hamlet. When the king began to become concerned about Hamlet’s behavior, Polonius decided that obtaining answers first would be beneficial. Polonius likes information and wants to know everything there is to know. He is always in a rush to inform the king of everything that has happened.

He runs to tell him this, reasoning that Hamlet’s madness is caused by one-way love. Polonius positioned himself to overhear Gertrude and Hamlet’s conversation. He took shelter in a remote location. Hamlet heard a noise, and without thinking twice, he thrust his sword through the hidden listener, believing it was Polonius. Even after realizing his blunder, Hamlet did not regret his actions because Polonius fell into a low trick below.

Through the saying ” brevity is the soul of wit,” Shakespeare demonstrates his mastery of irony. It’s not just a phrase in this context. The contradiction between how he’s characterized and what he says makes him seem stupid. However, it is wise advice. This knowledge might be from Shakespeare himself. For example, Shakespeare advises young people to stay aware twice in II Henry VI.

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