Act 1, Scene 3: A Room in Polonius’ House
Summary: Polonius’ son, who is about to leave for France, tells his sister, Ophelia, that she shouldn’t let herself fall in love with Hamlet because he won’t be able to marry her–that Hamlet will just drop her to do his duty for the kingdom. Ophelia starts to tell him not to go whoring himself around France either, but Polonius interrupts, sends his son off with a long, preachy and a little contradictory speech, and then after the son is gone, he grills Ophelia on her relationship with Hamlet and tells her to stay away from him as well.
Reaction: These guys don’t seem to like Hamlet all that much. You’d think they’d be happy that the heir to the throne is interested in their sister/daughter. I guess they’re both realists? Or they just really hate Hamlet.
Prediction: Ophelia seems like a strong woman, and I know she won’t stay away from Hamlet. I wish I could have heard her tell her brother off a little more.
Why This Book Is a Classic: Fancy ways of describing sex: letting “your chaste treasure open to his unmaster’d importunity”; Fatherly advice given in huge speeches, where one tip is for the kid to spend tons of money on clothes that don’t look expensive but to never take out a loan–all in fancy language, of course.