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The Theme Of Familial Love In Hamlet

2268 words - 9 pages

Duty of the Offspring: A Comparison Between Modern Society and HamletShakespeare shows in Hamlet, many relationships are based on emotional bonds, which, according to tradition, should be strong and unquestionable. The bonds of blood, those of friendship, and those of social position affect the relationships in this play. Shakespeare shows that loyalty and familial devotion, defined in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, as "the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal towards one's family" (2003), have an enormous impact on a number of the main characters. In Hamlet, the duty of a child to a parent is of prime importance in any decision, and the influences of this relationship contrast and compliment those of modern parent-child relationships.Shakespeare shows that the desire to please one's father was an act of duty that would be unquestioned at the time. In today's society, many teenagers grapple with the fact of financial dependence on their parents in order to continue their education. Although teens are encouraged by parents to explore every endeavour possible, the teens will often find themselves sacrificing their personal goals of travelling around the world, for a university education, in order to maintain the ever so important financial stability and support received from their parents.Ophelia and Laertes both relied on their father, Polonius, for financial and emotional stability. This would often lead to the sacrifice of their desires, in order to fulfil their duty to their father. Laertes was an honourable and trusting son who obeyed his father unconditionally. He had a great deal of respect and a sense of duty to make Polonius feel proud. However, Laertes was unaware of Polonius' obsequious and mistrusting ways when he sent Reynaldo to spy on his son: You shall do marvelous wisely, good Reynaldo,Before you visit him, to make inquireOf his behaviour. (2.1.3-5)Polonius had adopted a parenting style which was considerably different from that of today's parent.Parents who are secure in their methods of parenting, trust that when their children decide to leave the house, they will be able to make their own decisions with proper judgement. When the thousands of Ontario's high school graduates leave to further their education in September, there will not be thousands of spies around the various campuses. However, the parents will trust that they have brought their children up properly, with an adequate value system and the skills necessary to survive well on their own.In this day and age, the roles of a parent-child relationship are reversed from those of Shakespeare's era. Today, parents feel a great sense of obligation to their children, and generally feel as though they have to constantly find ways to please and honour the child with such things as enrollment in activities that will please the child, but put financial and time strains on the family life. However, in Shakespeare's era, it has been observed that this sense of...

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