We’ve mentioned before on this blog that the character of Polonius, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is not a source of good advice.
His long, rambling string of paternal advice is written to be just that: long and rambling. This is, let’s remember, the man that stumbles around ineffectually for nearly four acts before he gets himself killed, making everything he touches worse in the process.
So I’m always at least a little entertained when Polonius quotes are used with evident sincerity. But this one might be a winner:
Yes, that’s a tattoo, and yes, it’s directly above the crotch — and yes, it’s a misquote.
Shakespeare wrote “To thine own self be true,” following the convention of using “thy” as the attributive possessive in most cases, but “thine” for words beginning with vowel sounds. The version rendered above is grammatically odd in the same way that a tattoo reading “I Am a Awesome Motherfucker” (instead of “an Awesome Motherfucker”) would be odd to us today.
But fuck it. Girl is being true to herself, in fine Polonius style. Or maybe it’s a truly sublime irony, mocking the whole breed of querulous demi-intellectuals that Polonius so perfectly represents by inviting them to obsess over the insignificant error inked on her skin. Ironic allusions have their place in tattoo artistry, after all, as the numerous “Leviticus 19:28″ tattoos out there show us.
(If you’re too lazy to look it up: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.“)
Now if you’ll excuse me, the rest of that photo that I cropped the Polonius tattoo from was topless, and I think I need to go spend some time being true to myself, hur hur hur!
Seriously, though, spellcheck your tats. And maybe read the Cliff’s Notes on the source while you’re at it.