William Shakespeare's Hamlet, deals with many issues relevant to today's society. Many of the problems still take place today, as it did when the play was written. The characters in Hamlet are well developed and used effectively in moving along the themes of the play. Some of the themes consist of death, corruption, evil, immorality, human nature, and the search for self-identity. These themes are present in the problems of the play and the obstacles that fall into place. Of all the problems in Hamlet, several are pertinent to today's world, and are developed well and clearly. One of these problems includes parents" treatment of their children.
Parents" treatment of their children is touched upon in Hamlet, throughout the entire play. The first example of this is seen through the relationship of Polonius, Laertes, and Ophelia. Polonius offers Laertes good, fatherly advice before Laertes leaves Denmark. Polonius tells him, "Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; / Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement." (I, iv, 68-69). He wants his son to be wise and stay clear of conflict. He suggests that Laertes should listen to others rather than interject. Polonius eventually offers his last piece of advice saying, "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." (I, iii, 78-80). Polonius wants Laertes to be honest and live with honor. The advice is sound and Laertes accepts it as he departs for France.
At first glance, it is seen that Polonius loves his son. He wants Laertes to act like a responsible man and succeed in his life. Then Polonius consults with Reynaldo. He tells Reynaldo, "Before you visit him, make inquire / Of his behaviour." (II, i, 3-4). He wants Reynaldo to spy on Laertes. Even with the advice given to Laertes, Polonius does not completely trust him. He wants to make sure that his son is acting properly.