Hamlet Act 3

Laertes. My necessaries are embarked. Farewell. And, sister, as the winds give benefit And convey is assistant, do not sleep, But let me hear from you.

Ophelia.Do you doubt that?

Laertes. For Hamlet, and the trif ling of his favor, Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood, A violet in the youth of primy nature, Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, The perfume and suppliance of a minute, No more.

Ophelia.No more but so?

Laertes.Think it no more.For nature, crescent, does not grow alone In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes, The inward service of the mind and soul Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now, And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch The virtue of his will; but you must fear, His greatness weighed, his will is not his own, For he himself is subject to his birth. He may not, as unvalued persons do, Carve for himself, for on his choice depends The safety and the health of this whole state. And therefore must his choice be circumscribed Unto the voice and yielding of that body Whereof he is the head. Then, if he says he loves you,

Sc. 3, Lines 5–24: What is Laertes’s attitude toward Ophelia? Identify details that support your assessment. What reasons does Laertes give Ophelia for not trusting Hamlet’s love? Explain that royal marriages were often political alliances made not out of love but out of political expediency.

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Laertes is warning his sister of Hamlet, as he senses that Hamlet's motives are not honest. None-the-less, we can also see this speech as a mode of consolation. Hamlet's will in regard to marriage is not his own. In the end, his marriage will be dictated by necessity and politics...... and in that vein, Ophelia has no worries.