At the beginning of Act II, Polonius asks Reynaldo to spy on his son. This request parallels Claudius’ request of whom?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This request parallel Claudius' request of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet, Claudius' stepson. The requests are a bit different, though. Laertes is in Paris, far away from his father and his father wants to know what his son is doing. The request is to determine Laertes moral and financial behavior. Hamlet, on the other hand is in the same castle as Claudius and Claudius can see him everyday. Yet, he is not close enough to his step-son/nephew to really understand why Hamlet's behavior is so strange and melancholy. It is Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, who suspects Hamlet may be upset over the death of his father and quick marriage of she and Claudius. It seems that neither" father" completely trusts their son but Claudius does not even realize what's right in front of him.

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