Polonius Parenting In Hamlet

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Parenting in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Parenting requires selflessness, trust, and humility. These are qualities that Polonius, the father of Laertes and Ophelia, lacks. He uses his children for his own selfish reasons knowing the detrimental effects it will have on them. Furthermore, he is hypocritical because he gives them advice that he does not follow himself. Worst of all, Polonius does not trust his children, but his suspicions never have solid grounds for the actions he takes. These actions show his irrational train of thought, and how they negatively impact his children. Polonius is not a good father due to his inability to make rational decisions.

Polonius seems to value his own well being more than his children’s, as he uses
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Polonius orders Ophelia to distract Hamlet even though he knows the emotional distress it will cause her. He is the reason Ophelia breaks ties with Hamlet, yet he is willing to throw her at him for his own gain. Polonius cannot rationalize that spying on Hamlet is less important than his daughter’s mental stability. His utter selfishness makes him incapable of making rational decisions that are beneficial to both himself, and his children.

Polonius gives good advice that he does not take himself, showing his bad decision making. Before Laertes leaves for France, Polonius gives him sound fatherly advice saying: “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; / Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement” (1.3.68-69). Polonius is telling his son to listen to many different opinions, but not to give his own. This is hypocritical of him because throughout the play he is constantly giving his own opinion. In 2.2, he tells Claudius that he believes Hamlet is mad due to his love for Ophelia. He also tells Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet because he believes Hamlet’s feelings for her are fleeting. Polonius ignoring his own good advice not only shows that he does not care about his daughter’s feelings, but also that he cannot make good
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