Father’s prepare their children for the outside world. They nurture them with the children’s mother by their side. Father’s are protective, caring, dependable, etc. In Hamlet Act I, We encounter three fathers, who are Polonius, Claudius, and The Ghost. Each of these men are different from their garments to their personalities. Like all fathers they have a special bond to their children. Shakespeare uses different literary techniques to characterize these men and how the give advice to their children.
Claudius is Hamlet’s Uncle and Stepfather. That is an unusual relationship. Claudius loves Hamlet like his own son but Hamlet does not accept it feeling that his mother married quickly. In I.ii.90-121, CLaudius is giving a speech to Hamlet. He feels that Hamlet is mourning the death of his father too long and Gertrude is concern about him because of the state he seems to be in.
In the beginning of his speech Claudius gives father like advice to Hamlet saying “‘Tis sweet and commendable in your nature/ Hamlet/ To give these mourning duties to your father/ But you must know your father lost a father” (I.ii.90-94). He tells Hamlet that is sweet how he mourns his father but usually only for a certain period. But after giving his advice he insults Hamlet by calling his grief unmanly. Claudius’ concern for Hamlet is insincere. His tone seems caring but it is not. He is annoyed that Hamlet will not stop mourning the death of his father. Claudius is an insincere father who does not care much for Hamlet.
Polonius has two children, his son Laertes and his daughter Ophelia. Throughout Act I Scene III his tone is mainly caring and protective. Laertes with the permission of Polonius is leaving for France. Before he leaves Polonius gives him genuine advice on how to conduct himself and interact with the people when his is in France. Polonius tells Laertes Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.
Take each man’s censure but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed 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 not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee.
This speech to Laertes show the relationship they have as father and son. This truly shows a loving father sending his son off into the world. Hamlet has been courting Ophelia and Polonius sees this. He decides to talk to her one on one , father-daughter. He know that she is growing up so he tells her to be careful and the danger of boys, particularly Hamlet. Polonius loves his children and they love him.
The Ghost of Hamlet’s Father, is a spirit in purgatory and only free to roam the world at night. He is remorseful. He did not get a chance to repent for his sins before he died, so he is trapped in the eternal flames of hell. He sees Hamlet no longer as a child but a grown man. He has a deep trust in Hamlet. The Ghost reveals to Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother, Hamlet’s uncle/stepfather. In the previous scene Hamlet has caught a glimpse of the Ghost making his presence known, leading up to this revelation.
The Ghost say “Thus was I, sleeping,by a brother’s hand/Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched/Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin” (I.v.81-83).He was describing to Hamlet how his brother, Claudius, deceived his mother into marrying him after killing him. He lost everything at once before repenting for his sins. He wants Hamlet to avenge his death and Hamlet will do so without hurting his mother, leaving God to judge her.The GHost of Hamlet’s Father’s ton is vengeful but also informative. He believe his son has a right to know the truth.
Claudius Polonius, and the Ghost of Hamlet’s father have on thing in common and that is that they are fathers. They have different methods to approaching their children and handling situations differently. Their personality is a main factor in determining their approach. They are either caring , loving, resentful, vengeful, etc. The list goes on for these fathers.