Polonius is Claudius’s long-bearded chief counselor.
An old and respected man, he is opinionated, never uses one word when ten will do, speaks as a minor literary critic, is occasionally forgetful, and enjoys reminiscing about his days at university, where he took part in amateur dramatics and had a taste for the ladies. He is careful not to appear ambitious, and considers his daughter too lowly a bride for a prince. He expects full obedience from his daughter, and offers wise moral precepts to his son, while thinking nothing of having him spied on and using Ophelia as bait for Hamlet. He spies a great deal on everybody, and insists that matters of state come before more private ones, even the madness of the heir to the throne.