Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ask the Experts

Polonius:This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Laertes:Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

(Hamlet 1.3.78–82)

This is one of my favorite Shakespeare lines. Not just because it's often Mizz Understood as "don't let anyone make you do or be anything that isn't truly who you are inside."

I like it because the Expert in question, the loser/follower Polonious, is actually giving the advice "Look out for Number One--YOU!" to his son. As in, go ahead and eat that last slice of cake in the fridge! Or, feel free to ask for a brand new sword even though it's super expensive! (Interpretive disclosure: it's possible that this reading may be influenced by my own natural instincts as an only child).

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