Gaden Of Ophelia: Hamlet Essay

2251 words - 10 pages

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 know what she is truly thinking if they would pay close attention to what she tells them. Ophelia opens her ceremony of flowers by stating, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray you, love, remember" (Shakespeare). The rosemary is given to Laertes so that he will remember her the way she used to be, before the unpredictable death of her father. Ophelia suffers deeply from the ongoing thoughts of how the murder of her father was her true love Hamlet, this being very obvious through the presentation of this flower. Through these nine words, Ophelia states how she is kind of crazy and is confessing of her insane mind. "Remember think back on what's been going on" (Shakespeare) Ophelia tells Laertes as the moment that is presented. Through this, Ophelia tries to warn Laertes to remain sane, because she is to the part of no return. It can be concluded that Laertes had no clue the true meaning behind Ophelia telling him about her mind condition because he was clueless about her upcoming suicide. Even at her funeral, Laertes cries “Lay her in the ground, and let violets bloom from her lovely and pure flesh! I’m telling you, you jerk priest, my sister will be an angel in heaven while you’re howling in hell” (Shakespeare)....

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