AP Lit Hamlet Essay

Submitted By hannahhannahhannah
Words: 545
Pages: 3

One of the most influential lines in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, is Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes, “This above all: to thine own self be true” (Act 1. Sc. 3, 84). This line is one of the most famous lines from the play because of its beautifully expressed truth. As with all of Shakespeare’s works, the quotation can be interpreted in different ways depending on what the reader takes from it. Perhaps it is Polonius advising Laertes to lookout for his own best interest and to avoid temptations damaging to his self image, or perhaps it is just father telling son to put himself first before anything or anyone? For me though, the quote has a far more profound meaning, it is something that my parents have always said to me and my brothers and sisters my whole life: “if you are true to yourself you won’t ever go wrong”. They have always instilled in us the importance of our good name and taking pride in our reputation. It is very easy, especially as a teenager today, to do “stuff” and to want to experience things that we are not ready for, and to do these things because of peer pressure. However, if we stop and take a moment to consider why we are doing something and really try to understand our motivation, we will end up serving ourselves far better, .and sometimes, possibly making a better personal decision.

I believe that the meaning of Polonius’ advice is that in the end, the only thing that truly matters is what one thinks of oneself – can you live with the choices you make? Though all throughout ones life you will be surrounded by opinions, at the end of the day, the most important opinion will be ones own opinion of self. Self love and self loathing are both easily attainable, depending on how true to yourself you are. In today’s society it is easy to get caught up in peer pressure and lose sight of who you truly are. It is inevitable for people to…