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Are Men Liars?Polonius warns that men will say virtually anything to gain sexual...

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 18, 2008 at 3:57 PM via web

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Are Men Liars?

Polonius warns that men will say virtually anything to gain sexual satisfaction: "I do know, / When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul / Lends its tongue to vows" (1.3.124-125).   Is there some validity in Polonius' statements to his daughter?

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 18, 2008 at 9:15 PM (Answer #2)

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Not one soul can teach high school and not see some truth in this little gem! Again, I'm at a continuation school, where about 70% of our school is boys, about half of which are dads to at least one child and 30% are pregnant moms-to-be or mothers already, some of them two and three times over- by two or three different young men, sometimes old men. I would have to say that these women didn't just wake up and ask to be teen mothers (although some do), I think many of them believed every lie that dripped from the tongues of these young men, especially since most have absolutely no contact with the fathers and many of our father only have contact with pictures of their children. This is definitely a hot topic at our school with both the boys and the girls because boy when the blood burns that's all they listen to, but when the baby is on the way that's what they're all kicking themselves for.

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 19, 2008 at 6:34 AM (Answer #3)

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Not one soul can teach high school and not see some truth in this little gem! Again, I'm at a continuation school, where about 70% of our school is boys, about half of which are dads to at least one child and 30% are pregnant moms-to-be or mothers already, some of them two and three times over- by two or three different young men, sometimes old men. I would have to say that these women didn't just wake up and ask to be teen mothers (although some do), I think many of them believed every lie that dripped from the tongues of these young men, especially since most have absolutely no contact with the fathers and many of our father only have contact with pictures of their children. This is definitely a hot topic at our school with both the boys and the girls because boy when the blood burns that's all they listen to, but when the baby is on the way that's what they're all kicking themselves for.

Good heavens, Crystal!  I cannot imagine how difficult their young lives must be...and yours as a teacher.  The reality of lies told to most of us as teens usually doesn't have such dire consequences.  As much as I dislike the character of Polonious in most regards, at least he did care about what happened to his daughter (even if his motivations were primarily selfish ones).

It sounds like all these young men and women you teach could have used a Polonius of some sort in their lives. 

Years ago, I tried to help a runaway teen.  We took her into our home, found her family (who told us to "keep her," as if she were a runaway dog!)  Eventually she left our house too.  I saw her about a year later; she was pregnant. And 16.  She told me she was "so happy, because now she will have someone to love her." 

 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 19, 2008 at 9:21 AM (Answer #4)

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You know, I have experienced this as well.  Being the wife of a US Marine, I have taught in many states and three countries.  My Latin American girls in Arizona seemed to be in competition with one another who could have more children by the time they graduated (if they graduated) from high school.  In fact, Yuma County at the time had the nation's highest pregnancy rate among teens.  There were three high schools, and one of them had a program for young moms and moms-to-be where they could get the 3 R's under their belt and then learn to shop, prepare bottles, and diaper most effectively.  It was a different way of looking at life...the girls told me that no one expected them to get a diploma, but being a mother was a given.  That's NOT the message that I had in the hallowed halls of my high school, but I suppose I'm a little old-fashioned.

In my Kentucky high school, there are some young moms, but not as many.  They marvel at the literature of old since pre-marital sex was not permitted and the young women would be outcasts.  They often make the comment about the lack of "pure" young women in our school...apparently the majority of them are involved in this complex and dangerous game.  One thing to consider, more of our students today are growing up in single-parent homes which colors morals, values, and the need for someone to show them unconditional love and acceptance.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted January 19, 2008 at 5:26 PM (Answer #5)

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I am all the more grateful to be teaching in a tiny Christian school after reading the above posts. Some people see our kids and say, "They're well-behaved, but wait till they get out on their own, away from their parents - they're gonna explode and do all sorts of wild things!" That may be true, but I am grateful to see the morals that are being taught to these kids now, and the idea that it truly is okay (best, even) to wait for sex. Most of the kids in our school don't date, they don't hold hands even if they are serious about someone...they are truly committed to chastity, which is a miracle in this day and age.

I'm sure there will be some kids who go crazy once they get away from their parents. It will be interesting to see what happens to these kids in the next 10-15 years. But no matter what paths they take, no matter what choices they make, I know that I'll still love each and every one of them and pray daily for their welfare.

I hope you all don't mind if I add you to my personal prayer list - You have my deep admiration for what you experience with your classes.

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted January 21, 2008 at 12:30 PM (Answer #6)

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I think there is definite validity in what Polonius says to his daughter, and we see it in our culture today.  All you have to do is listen to a conversation from a group of young men when they think you aren't listening and you will hear Polonius' message being validated.  Young men compete with each other with 'pick-up' lines and stories about how many girls they have 'led astray'.  The ends justifies the means for most young men in our culture and their ending is not the same as what the young women are hoping for.  Unfortunately, as Amy noted, a good portion of the young women don't have fathers cautioning them about how some young men are thinking.  Even though Polonius would not win any father of the year awards, he at least is correct in expressing the dangers to Ophelia.  One of the reasons I married my husband was because he was a man of integrity.  He didn't try to use 'lines' on me, and because of that, when he finally said 'I love you' I knew I could believe him and trust him for a lifetime.

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 24, 2008 at 7:28 AM (Answer #7)

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The foil for this dishonesty can be found in Hamlet's rant about women.

"for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness: this was sometime a paradox,"

or the more powerful:

I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God
has given you one face, and you make yourselves
another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and
nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness
your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath
made me mad

so if men are such liars, why is Revlon making so much money?

By the way, I do remember the last words I spoke to one girl were, "When I know what I am doing later, I will give you a call."

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