In Shakespeare's Hamlet, does Laertes know about how Polonius feels about Ophelia's romantic pursuit for Hamlet?I'm only looking for an answer if it is situated at the start of Act 1 Scene 3. Does...

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, does Laertes know about how Polonius feels about Ophelia's romantic pursuit for Hamlet?

I'm only looking for an answer if it is situated at the start of Act 1 Scene 3. Does Laertes know before he leaves for France?

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sensei918 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In Act 1, Scene 3, Laertes is about to take his leaver for France, and as he bids farewell to his sister Ophelia he takes the time to admonish her about her feelings for Hamlet. Laertes asks Ophelia to stay in touch with him, and then he launches ito a speech about how she should not take Hamlet's advances seriously. He tells her to consider Hamlet's feelings as "a fashion and a toy in blood,/A violet in the youth of primy nature,/Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,/The perfume and suppliance of a minute,/No more" (I, iii, 7-9). He is telling her that it is just infatuation. He further tells her that she had best hold on to her virtue. Polonius enters and gives Laertes a lecture of his own, one filled with many famous Shakespeare sayings. However, it is never made overtly clear that Laertes knows how Polonius feels about Ophelia and Hamlet. One might suspect that the two men have discussed the issue, for they are certainly in agreement, and in Shakespeare's day a girl's father and brother would be totally in control of her actions. Alas, Ophelia does not listen, and it proves to contribute to her downfall.

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