People get gifts all the time; it is a thing of life. Truth be told, gifts carry heavy symbolic weight. For example, the three wise men gave Christ gold for royalty, Frankincense to capture the uniqueness, and myrrh to emphasize value (Rogers). Even though these gifts seem to be given out of joy, they hold much greater meaning: being a great example of how symbolism that is behind gifts. Like the Bible and countless authors before him, William Shakespeare allows gifts to carry symbolic value within his writings, a value that an Elizabethan audience would recognize. There is something about Ophelia's gifts, in Hamlet, that draws one's attention to the insanity. Ophelia distantly says to friends and family, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember, and there is pansies. That's for thoughts … There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue for you; and here's some for me: we may call it herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died", while passing out a variety of flowers (Shakespeare). An Elizabethan audience would have quickly understood the significance of each of the flowers and how they all represent some part of her life and what she has witnessed at Elsinore in the past days and weeks (Elizabethan Theatre Audiences). Ophelia giving these flowers as gifts to family and relatives shows Ophelia opening her garden of thoughts and emotions to the people around her right before she commits suicide.
The first flowers that Ophelia allows to come to life are to Laertes, rosemary and pansies. Starting with these two flowers, Ophelia grows her thoughts to the garden of her mind, allowing people to kn...
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...d. Ophelia knew exactly what she was doing when she handed out flowers in this scene. Through passing out the flowers and the very few but oh so powerful words that were combined with it, Ophelia allows flowers come to life.
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