Which Passage From Hamlet, Act II, Scene I Is An Example Of Setting?
The passage in Hamlet, Act II, Scene I that serves as an example of setting is the dialogue between Polonius and Reynaldo, found in lines 10-33 of the scene. Reynaldo arrives at the court in Elsinore, where he meets Polonius and is briefed on his mission to Paris. The passage describes the setting in Elsinore, with Polonius giving Reynaldo detailed instructions about his journey, as well as the atmosphere of the court. In lines 10-22, Polonius explains to Reynaldo that he must “visit [Laertes’] late known lodging” in Paris, “[to] find out what [Laertes] hath deserved of the world” (10-12). He then describes the atmosphere of the court: “[have] you a conception of [Laertes’] virtues, / Enter into th’affections of [Laertes’] friends, /… / And lose not so much money but still keep / Your credit with them” (18-22). Further on, in lines 33-34, Polonius states: “do this, so far as your discretion / Will think it meet.”
By describing the setting of Elsinore in detail, Shakespeare reveals the atmosphere of the court and the position of Polonius, who holds a leadership role in the court. His dialogue also reveals the royal drama unfolding in Elsinore that will eventually lead to tragedy. Through the passage, Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of mistrust and political machinations that a reader can picture in their mind’s eye as the scene unfolds.