Broadly describe the precepts given by Laertes to Ophelia and by Polonius to Ophelia in "Hamlet" 1.3.   

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Before he leaves to go back to France, Laertes takes Ophelia aside to warn her against having a relationship with Hamlet. He tells her that Hamlet probably doesn't really love her, he is just using her. He goes on to say that Hamlet might think he loves Ophelia, but it's not true love, it's infatuation and it won't last. Laertes reminds Ophelia that Hamlet is a prince and is bound to marry royalty or at least whoever Denmark says he should marry. Laertes hints that Hamlet may want to keep Ophelia as his mistress which would be a dishonorable position for Ophelia and her family.  He tells Ophelia not to give up her virginity to Hamlet because if she does, she will lose so much and she will regret it.  Laertes is very kind in the way he talks to his sister.  Polonius, on the other hand, is very coarse in the way he speaks with his daughter.  He tells her that he's heard that she and Hamlet have been spending a lot of time together lately.  She tells Polonius that Hamlet has been telling her that he cares for her. Polonius scolds her, telling her she should know better than to listen to such talk; that she's foolish and naive to listen.  He tells her that Hamlet is only using her to get what he can from her.  He tells her not to listen to Hamlet and to rebuff his advances because Polonius is afraid that the relationship will make Polonius (and his family) look bad. Polonius is more concerened with the effects that a relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia will have on him whereas Laertes is more concerned about Ophelia being hurt.