Earlier in the play (Act 1) we are introduced to what seems to be a caring and loving father, Polonius. In act 2 we learn that although Polonius does really care for his kids, he doesn’t trust them too much. This is shown throughout the play on multiple occasions.
We start act 2 off with Polonius and Reynaldo having a very serious conversation regarding Polonius’ son, Laertes. Polonius is talking Reynaldo into ultimately spying on Laertes while he is in France. Although Polonius does care about his son he doesn’t trust him enough to allow him in France alone just yet. This is proven when Polonius says, “By this encompassment and drift of question that they do know my son, come you more near than your particular demand will touch it.” (2.1.11-13). Polonius is telling Reynaldo to go around France asking locals about Laertes and what his doings are while he has been in France. This show’s how, although a caring father, Polonius has trust problems with his kids.
While having this conversation with Reynaldo not only does Polonius ask Reynaldo to spy and ask around about Laertes but he also wants Reynaldo to implement lies about Laertes in order to get the truth from locals. This is shown when Polonius him self says, “Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth;”(2.1.69). Polonius is pretty much telling Reynaldo to bait Laertes (tell lies or hint at lies about Laertes) in order to get his friends/locals to tell the truth about Laertes.
A theme is created early on in Hamlet which is telling a lie in order to get the truth or #facts. This is shown when Polonius tells Reynaldo to say to the locals that he knows Laertes but “not well; but if’t be he I mean, he’s very wild, addicted so and so.”(2.1.18-20). Polonius is telling Reynaldo to tell the locals that he knows Laertes but not very well, just enough to know that he is wild, addicted to said activities, drugs, etc. Once again we see Polonius’ distrust in his son and a theme that reoccurs throughout Hamlet.
It is obvious that Polonius does not trust his son, for what seems to be no apparent reason to us the readers. This is shown when Polonius tells Reynaldo to spy on Laertes, implement lies about him in order to get the truth from his friends/locals and we see a theme that is created at the beginning of the play. Why do you guys think that Polonius doesn’t trust Laertes to be alone in France? Let me know in the comment section below, hope you enjoyed J