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What is Laertes's advice to Ophelia? At this point in the play do you think he likes or...

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kristina89 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 4, 2007 at 2:12 AM via web

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What is Laertes's advice to Ophelia? At this point in the play do you think he likes or dislikes Hamlet? Explain your answer.

the question is in act 1.

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lcassidy | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted December 4, 2007 at 3:22 AM (Answer #1)

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Laertes’ advice to Ophelia about Hamlet is that she should stay far away from him.  He reminds her that she is the mere daughter of the King’s advisor and that he is the Prince.  She should not take his advances seriously because he is using her.  He also advises her to remain virtuous and pure – as a young maiden should.

It is obvious that Laertes does not like or trust Hamlet.

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

Posted December 4, 2007 at 5:22 AM (Answer #2)

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Laertes acts as any older brother would for his baby sister.  Although it is hinted at that both Laertes and Hamlet have been "playmates" as young people of noble birth often are, where Ophelia is concerned, Laertes tells her that Hamlet is only interested in her for one thing and that she should protect her maidenhead and her honor by ignoring Hamlet's attentions.

When Laertes is told by Claudius that Hamlet has killed Polonius, Laertes' father, it is obvious that Laertes' feelings toward Hamlet are bitter and full of hatred.  He clearly wants revenge and agrees to plot with Claudius on how to get it.  However, as the duel is under way and Laertes realizes that Claudius is the more evil of the two (especially after Hamlet has made such a nice apology for killing Polonius and asks Laertes' pardon), Laertes has a change of heart toward Hamlet and admits the "villainy is here."  They are both doomed as they have mixed up swords in the duel somehow and they have both been wounded.  The poison will take its toll on both, leaving a long list of dead actors in their wake.  Hamlet kills Claudius, he and Laertes forgive each other, and both of them die.

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