The act begins with Polonius sending Reynaldo to France to spy on his son, Laertes, and then Ophelia enters to report to Polonius about Hamlet’s crazy behavior. Polonius assumes that Hamlet has gone mad due to Ophelia’s rejection. I believe this scene [could] be significantly cut short to display only Polonius’s advice on how to inquire about Laertes, and the fact that Hamlet has been acting crazy.
Polonius gives Reynaldo specific pointers when making inquires about Laertes. This helps to develop the theme of reality versus appearance, which is shown throughout the play. Polonius is teaching Reynaldo how to use words to hide the true meaning behind his questions. He is doing this to ensure that his son maintains a virtuous image, even if he is engaging in fights, attending parties and chasing girls. However, [Polonius] does not wish for Reynaldo to create any scandals of Laertes or make him appear immoral though these inquiries. This is why I believe lines 1-52 should be kept, as they are sufficient to show the audience the theme, and a major plot development.
Lines 52-71, as I believe, may be eliminated from the play. It is continuous rambling from Polonius, and unnecessary for the production. Polonius is just [providing further advice] to Reynaldo, and it is not necessary, as it will become repetitive to the audience. Lines 53-55 only depict Polonius as being an idiot, for he loses his chain of thought. I am neither trying to illustrate Polonius as a fool, or as a cunning opportunist. He will be dying shortly after; therefore his lines will be limited in my presentation of the play. I believe the audience will only be confused by his lost of thought.
All the lines after Ophelia’s entrance to the end of the act should be kept. Their conversation is short, and it helps develop what happens in Scene 2 of this act. The conversation is important because it shows how Hamlet is behaving irregularly as he said he would after [his] encounter with the ghost....