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How does Shakespeare present the characters of Laertes, Ophelia and Polonius and the relationship between them in Act 1 Scene 3?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare present the characters of Laertes, Ophelia and Polonius and the relationship between them in Act 1 Scene 3? In Act 1 Scene 3, Laertes is portrayed as a very concerned, caring brother to his sister Ophelia, as throughout his soliloquy he is offering her advice and warning her against falling for Hamlet's charms, as he believes it will be very short lived. You get the impression that he genuinely cares for his sister when he warns that Hamlet's love may be very short lived as 'his will is not his own'. However, Laertes then goes on to say 'fear it Ophelia, fear it my dear sister' as he warns her against losing her virginity to Hamlet, you then get the impression that the tone in which Laertes is using has changed, and has now become less caring and more pompous. ...read more.

Middle

When Polonius enters, he first offers lots of advice to Laertes about going to France, and telling him how he should act.amlet.HH He advises him to 'give thy thoughts no tongue' and to be 'costly thy habit as thy purse can buy'. He speaks this advice with a lot of authority, implying he knows what is best for his son. Throughout Polonius' advice, Laertes doesn't interrupt once, showing he is listening carefully to what his father is telling him. Polonius then tells Laertes to go, so he is left alone with Ophelia. As soon as Laertes has gone, Polonius asks his daughter what Laertes has said to her. Although she told Laertes she would keep his advice secret, she then begins to tell Polonius. ...read more.

Conclusion

The relationship Polonius has with both of his children is very different. Polonius treats Ophelia like a little girl and Laertes like an equal. This is more than likely because he does not expect as much of Ophelia because she is a woman, and so sees her as just someone he has to look after. Polonius is very proud of Laertes and therefore treats him with the respect he would give to an equal. Both of Polonius' children appear to appreciate him and respect him. The relationship between the two siblings however shows a great deal of trust and care for one another, especially Laertes to Ophelia. I think that out of all three characters, Ophelia is probably least at ease, as really all she wants is a female role model she can turn to. ...read more.

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