An Analysis of William Shakespear's Hamlet

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Act 1 Scene 3 Summary
Laertes meets Ophelia to say his farewells before returning to France. He warns her to beware of Hamlet’s trifling with her, and urges her to remain chaste. Ophelia agrees to heed his advice, while urging him to obey it as well. Polonius enters and counsels Laertes, who departs. Polonius also warns Ophelia of Hamlet’s amorous intentions, and finally instructs her to avoid him altogether. She assents. For he himself is subject to his birth

He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
The safety and health of this whole state
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head
Act 1 Scene 3 Analysis
This scene presents tender, if somewhat humorous, dialogue between sister and brother, father and son, and father and daughter. Buried in the conversation, however, is the undercurrent of honesty vs. deceit, love vs. betrayal, reality vs. appearances, all themes which recur throughout the play. Both Laertes and Polonius show great solicitude for Phelia’s welfare, and she exhibits demure obedience to their advice, born of wider experience of the world than her own. We have already seen Laertes ask to leave Denmark and go to France, and this scene reveals the family relationships of the Polonius family which will serve as a contrast to the Royal family. We first meet Laertes’ sister, Ophelia. As any big brother would, Laertes gives Ophelia advice. He asks her to write to him, and warns her about her boyfriend. Hamlet from what Laertes says, we can deduce that Ophelia and Hamlet have been spending a lot of time together, and Hamlet has given the impressions to the family that he loves Ophelia. Laertes, however, tells Ophelia that even though Hamlet may love her now, any feelings he may have for her cannot possibly be acted on. If we look carefully at Laertes words, we can see that in addition to advising Ophelia, he is also giving us...
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