The scene of a conversation between Polonius and his son takes place before Laertes leaves for France. People are inclined to judge others by their appearance. So, Polonius advises dressing appropriately, in a prosperous but not gaudy manner. The scene has an ironic meaning since it reflects the narrow-minded character of Polonius.
In Act One, Scene 3, Polonius has a conversation with his son. He gives fatherly advice to prepare Laertes for the journey to France. Besides telling him to speak less and listen more, he asks to dress in an elegant and rich manner, but “not gaudy.” According to Polonius, people in France would first judge him for the way he looks. Actions and words have less significance for the first impression.
The scene can be considered comic as it demonstrates how simple-minded Polonius is. By giving his son advice about his clothing, he emphasizes his view on the world. He is sure that actions and personal traits do not create an image in society. The same idea is partly expressed in the idiom “The clothes make a man.” Though it can be true in some instances, it is ironic to hear such words from Polonius. This character is known for paying a lot of attention to his position and status. He is ready to sacrifice others’ interests to save his reputation. To sum up, Polonius’s specific advice demonstrates how he tries to influence his son. He wants Laertes to create a compelling image in French society.