What advice does Polonius give to Laertes in "Hamlet"?
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In Hamlet, Act 1 scene 3, Laertes is getting ready to go to France. He warns his sister, Ophelia, to not to become in love with Hamlet. Laertes cares deeply for his family and worries about his sister getting hurt by Hamlet. As he is getting ready to leave his father comes in to offer some advice to his son before he sets off to France. His advice is fatherly advice because he wants the best for his children.
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unaproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement.
Costly thy habit as thy pursue can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry,
This above all: to thine own self be true.
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst no then be false to any man.
Farewell! my blessing season this in thee!
Laertes is seen to be the complete opposite of Hamlet. If only Hamlet had a father who had given him this same kind of advice, how would the tale had ended?
Polonius tells his son several pieces of advice. He advises him to keep his thoughts to himself, to be friendly without being common or inappropriate in his actions, and have a few close friends, but keep a respectful distance from acquaintances. He tells him to be a good listener, but don't talk too much. Laertes should purchase nice clothing but nothing too gaudy that will outshine his peers. He should not borrow or lend money. He finally tells Laertes to be true to himself and this will be reflected in his authenticity with his fellow man.
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