POLONIUS, THE GOOD FATHER
I agree with the statement that Polonius, adviser in the court of King Claudius of Denmark, is a good father who desires what is best for his children. Although he may be a fussy and overcautious old man, Polonius constantly gives good advice and his best wishes to both his children, Laertes and Ophelia.
Before Laertes is about to go to France, Polonius talks to him and tells him all of his good advice. While Polonius tells Laertes all of his good advice, he says, My blessing with thee (I.iii.61). This statement shows that Polonius really wants Laertes to be successful when he goes to France. Polonius says, Beware of entrance to a quarrel , (I.iii.69) because he wants him to be safe. Polonius wants Laertes to stay out of trouble, and to be friendly with everyone he meets. Another point Polonius wants to make is that it is better to listen than to talk. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice (I.iii.72). Polonius believes that it is better to listen too much than to talk too much, because sometimes people who talk too much get into trouble, and others don t like them. Whereas, people who listen more than they talk rarely have others who don t like them and they don t get into much trouble. Another way Polonius tells Laertes to stay out of trouble is when he says, Neither a borrower nor a lender be (I.iii.80). This is important because sometimes when things are borrowed, the lender will get mad that the borrower didn t return when it was needed or the borrower ruined part of it. Even when it is an accident, it is still better to not borrow or lend anything from anyone just in case one person has a short temper. Polonius lastly and most importantly tells Laertes, This above all to thine own self be true . This is good advice because if people are not true to themselves, then they can t really be true to anyone else. Polonius believes that Laertes should have enough self-respect to be true to himself.
The way that Polonius acts as a good father towards Ophelia is mostly how he doesn t want her to get hurt by Hamlet. Ophelia tells Polonius all about what Hamlet has said and given her. She tells her father that Hamlet gives her presents and tells her nice things out of affection. Polonius does not believe that Hamlet has any affection for her Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green girl, unsifted in such perilous circumstances. (I.iii.107). Polonius thinks that Ophelia has no idea about love and Hamlet is giving her things and speaking nicely to her to seduce her. Tender yourself more dearly (I.iii.113). By this statement, it is easy to recognize that Polonius wants what is best for Ophelia. He wants her to have higher standards and to not give herself away so easily. Polonius doesn t think that Hamlet really loves Ophelia because princes married other royalty, not commoners like Ophelia. Polonius says, (Hamlet) is young, and with a larger tether may he walk than may be given you (I.iii.131-132). Polonius means that he can have any girl he wanted, so he would not likely settle for Ophelia.
Therefore, it is proved here that Polonius is a good father and he wants what is best for both of his children. For Laertes, Polonius wants him to be successful and mainly to just stay out of trouble when he leaves for France. For Ophelia, he wants her to be happy and not get hurt by Hamlet. He also wants to protect her, like most good fathers would.