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The Symbolism of Ophelia's Flowers
Transcript of The Symbolism of Ophelia's Flowers
In the play Hamlet, Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius. She's instructed by her father not to see Hamlet any more, even though she's in love with him. It's presumed that she followed her father's instructions, harsh as they were, and got rejected by Hamlet as a result. Then, her father is killed by Hamlet, so she was thought to have gone mad because she is torn. Others think that she was actually sane and used the flowers that she hands out in her own way. This prezi will explore the symbolism of the flowers she gives out.
"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.
Rosemary symbolizes remembrance and fidelity. It also means love and romance. Either Laertes or an invisible Hamlet gets the herb. Possibly, Ophelia's trying to show what's been going on to her brother or trying to regain Hamlet's love.
"And there is pansies. That's for thoughts."
Pansies are considered symbols of remembrance and unity. They also symbolize thoughts, more specifically, memories and faithfulness. They are often put on graves. She could also be giving this to Laertes.
"Symbolic Flowers and Meanings." www.whats-your-sign.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 June 2013.
"Rosemary: An Herbal History." Gomestic RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 June 2013.
"The Huntington Botanical Gardens - The Shakespeare Garden." The Huntington Botanical Gardens - The Shakespeare Garden. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 June 2013.
"Daisy." Symbolism.wikia.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 June 2013.
Fennel and Columbines
"There's fennel for you and columbines."
Fennel was symbolized for flattery, adultery, and foolishness. Because they died quickly, it also meant sorrow. Columbines were a symbol for ingratitude, adultery, faithlessness and deceived lovers. These herbs could have been given to Gertrude, since the Ghost states that the queen had been unfaithful, or Claudius because he loved flattery and committed adultery with Gertrude.
Rue and Daisies
"There's rue for you and here's some for me. It's called the herb-grace o' Sundays. O you must wear your rue with difference. There's a daisy.
Rue symbolizes adultery, genuine repentance, everlasting suffering, and sorrow. Daisies symbolized innocence. It was also used for heartbroken lovers ("he loves me, he loves me not.") Both were most likely given to Claudius because he committed adultery, he repents of the murder he committed, and he might end up having everlasting suffering. Ophelia gives some to herself because of sorrow and grief for her father. The daisy was given to Claudius and then retracted meaning "There's no innocence here," or it could be for Claudius, then retracted for herself, since she was rejected by Hamlet.
"I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died: they say he made a good end."
Violets symbolize faithfulness and fidelity. She could be saying, "There's no faithfulness here," or she could be saying, "I can't forgive Hamlet because he killed my father and told me to go to a nunnery." Either way, it shows that faithfulness and fidelity had died in Elsinore.
Ophelia's flowers may or may not have a symbolic meaning. We do know that she used them in her "mad" scene and she might've actually been mad. However, based on the evidence, she's actually insulting the king and queen in a secret way that isn't recognized by most. No wonder Shakespeare used these specific flowers in her mad scene! She's actually trying to convey what the king and queen are and everybody mistaked it for insanity! In conclusion, I think that Ophelia isn't mad, but trying to commmunicate indirectly. Unfortunately, she drowned before she could explain what the flowers meant.