Ophelia and Polonius Relationship

Just as Ophelia is controlled by her brother, so is her father, Polonius is very manipulative and Ophelia follows the orders of her father without any discrimination and negligence. Polonius is introduced as a father that is more concerned about his status as his daughter’s feelings and emotions. In the first act, Ophelia confesses her love towards Hamlet but Polonius’ reaction to Ophelia is, ‘Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl, / Unsifted in such perilous circumstance'(1.3.101-2).

Although Ophelia is an adult and can handle situations on her own, Polonius still considers her as an immature person who knows nothing about love. As Laertes, Polonius instructs and commands her to get away from the prince and ignore the letters she receives from him. Polonius says to Ophelia, ‘Tender yourself more dearly; / Or – not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, / Running it thus-you’ll tend me to fool ‘(1.3.107-9). Making it clear that Polonius is more concerned about his social status in the court rather than his daughter’s feelings.

Ophelia doesn’t know what to do about it so she asks her father, demonstrating that he has control over Ophelia’s decisions. Polonius states, ‘Marry, I’ll teach you: think yourself a baby; / That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay'(1.3.105-6). Lord Polonius wants to control his daughter and his romantic relationship with Hamlet, he have acknowledged that Ophelia’s duty is to obey him and honor him. Ophelia is controlled by her father and brother and they force her stay away from the prince of Denmark, who has had an affectionate and loving relationship, causing the relationship between them to go from cruelty to tenderness, from love to contempt.

Guarded by her father, Ophelia breaks the relationship, returning to Hamlet some memories that he had given her. Hamlet is very angry and feels betrayed by Ophelia. Hamlet says to Ophelia, ‘Oh, truly; For the power of beauty will sooner / Transform honesty from what it is to bawd than the / Force of honesty can translate beauty into his / Likeness'(3.1.111-4). Hamlet explains that beauty is more powerful than chastity, in other words, beauty will make men lie and how a beautiful woman will become a whore before a virtuous woman will lose her beauty. In his anger, he insists her, ‘Get thee to nunnery: why wouldst thou be a / Breeder of sinners?’ (3.1.121-2). Hamlet is literally telling Ophelia to join a convent and never get married because women only produce sins, since in convents there are no men around so her beauty will not make men liars.

Hamlet attacks Ophelia calling her dishonest and impure. Hamlet suggests Ophelia, ‘Or, if thou wilt needs / Marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough / what monsters you make of them ‘(3.1.137-9). He tells her that she should marry a fool because men know that women only get them in monsters. Hamlet makes it clear that he also takes control of Ophelia by telling her what she has to do.