Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What reasons do Laertes and Polonius give for their command to Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet? Are they reasonable?

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Laertes and Polonius both give similar reasons for Ophelia to mistrust Hamlet's affection. Both offer the advice to "fear" Hamlet's affections.

Laertes suggests that young men tend to flirt with and seduce women with only marginal sincerity. He offers his sister arguments based on what young men feel regarding romantic entanglements:

For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Alternatively, even if Hamlet is sincere, his will in marriage is not his own, given that he is a prince of Denmark and must think of diplomatic marriages:
His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,
For he himself is subject to his birth.
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Similarly, Polonius turns Ophelia's word "tenders," meaning the treasured expressions and gifts of Hamlet's love, into a synonym for sexuality:
Marry, I’ll teach you. Think yourself a baby
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 764 words.)

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