Definition of Ophelia Through Flowers Analytical Essay

Definition of Ophelia Through Flowers
The importance of flower meanings and symbolism in Shakespeare's "Hamlet".
# 2226 | 1,365 words | 3 sources | 1999 | US
Published on Feb 16, 2003 in Drama and Theater (English) , English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (Hamlet)

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This paper examines the contemporary meaning of the flowers used by Ophelia in ?Hamlet.? The meaning of the flowers have been carefully researched and their use and relevance is discussed. There is also a discussion about stage directions and Ophelia?s lack of voice.

From the Paper:

"In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, it became a popular trend to speak in what was called ?the language of flowers:? a system where different flowers had different meanings, and entire thoughts could be conveyed through a carefully arranged bouquet. Throughout Shakespeare's tragic play, Hamlet, this language of flowers is used quite prominently, particularly in relation to Ophelia, Hamlet's love. Her flowers ultimately become her voice: all her life she is the lone female surrounded by father, brother and lover, but it is through this language of flowers which she may speak, not in words, but in a way which is completely understood by her contemporaries, since it is safe to say that Shakespeare's original viewers would have been knowledgeable about the "meanings" of different flowers, much more so than today's audience. This conclusion can be reached not only by looking at the period during which this trend was popular,[1] but mainly because some of the most important parts of the play make no sense without a basic knowledge of these meanings."

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