How does my good Lord Hamlet?
I’m trying to work out why this line seems patronizing. Is it inherent in the language? That either good or lord would do but both seems excessive? I’m not sure. If Horatio said this line, I think it might seem affectionate. But in Polonius’ mouth, in this moment, I cannot read it without a layer of disingenuousness. On the train just now, I was reading this essay about language by David Foster Wallace. In it, he was explaining how there are multiple languages within a language, how Standard Written English is only one among many varieties of English. He uses the example of “a 53-year-old man with jowls and a comb-over” coming over to some kids hanging at the mall and asking if he can chill with them for a bit and just kick it.
I don’t think Polonius is trying to “kick it” with Hamlet here but there is a flavor of an older man making an effort with a younger here and not doing it terribly well.