What do Polonius's admonitions, beginning "And these few precepts," to Laertes and Ophelia in Act I, Scene iii, suggest about court life, and is it good advice?

Expert Answers info

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write2,050 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Some of the most familiar quotations in the English language are found in Polonious's advice to Laertes and are considered good advice, among them, (1) "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" and (2) "To thine own self be true." He also advises his son (3) to be friendly but not overly so and (4) to listen more than speak.

As for Ophelia, she is harshly advised to "tender herself more dearly" when she confesses to her father Hamlet's affection (1.3.115). Polonius is afraid she will sleep with him, though Ophelia protests that "he has importuned me in an honorable fashion" (1.3.119-120).

As for what is says...

(The entire section contains 319 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

























Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


zumba96 | Student

Towards Ophelia he basically tells her to be careful with Hamlet as nothing good will come out of it. It is not wise to continue meeting with him and he does not want his honor to be ruined. His daughter's honor as well, but firstly he does not want HIS honor to be ruined. As for Laertes, what he is trying to say becomes utterly confusing. Do this but not this. This but definitely not this. There are so many juxtaposing factors in this speech it is unsure what he wants him to fully do. But as Laertes goes to Paris he wants to keep him in check and give "good advice". The main 4 things he meant for Laertes was

1) don't borrow money but don't lend it either

2) Be true to yourself 

3) Be friendly but don't be too friendly

4) Listen more then you speak

check Approved by eNotes Editorial