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ConnieAnnKirk
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HAMLET: Acts IV & V (March 15 - April 2, 2010)

Do you have any comments from these last 2 acts?  Favorite passages, lines?

~ConnieAnnKirk




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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: HAMLET: Acts IV & V (March 15 - April 2, 2010)

Be careful, if you haven't completed Act IV yet--spoiler ahead!

 

 

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In Act IV, Ophelia appears to "lose it."  In Scene 5, starting at line 169 and again at 174, we have her famous lines with the herbs and flowers. 

 

There's rosemary: that's for remembrance.  Pray you,

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 of grace" o' Sundays.--You may wear your

rue with a difference.--There's a daisy.  I would give

you some violets, but they withered all when my

father died.  They say 'a made a good end.

[sings] For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy--

 

Why do you think Shakespeare chose herbs and flowers to show Ophelia's distress/madness?  Do you have a key in your copy that gives the period associations with the flowers, etc.?  This always intrigues me.  In the 19th century, associating certain flowers with certain emotions, sentiments, was called "the language of flowers."  They even had "flower dictionaries," etc.

 

For example, in the B&N edition of HAMLET, they say that fennel is "a parsley-like herb, conventionally associated with flattery and deceit" (302).

 

daisy = "the flower is associated with springtime and innocent love" (302).

 

What is it in this mixture of flowers and herbs that suggests trouble for Ophelia?  Do flowers and herbs together suggest confusion, distress, madness?

 

Let us know your thoughts on Ophelia's "bouquet."

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Lmfwhite
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Re: HAMLET: Acts IV & V (March 15 - April 2, 2010)

The footnotes in my translation for Ophelia's "bouquet" is as follows:

 

Fennel and columbines symbolize adultery (she gave them to Gertrude)

Rue symbolizes repentence (she gave to Claudius)

Daisy symbolizes unhappy love

Violets symbolize faithfulness

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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: HAMLET: Acts IV & V (March 15 - April 2, 2010)

Lmfwhite wrote:

The footnotes in my translation for Ophelia's "bouquet" is as follows:

 

Fennel and columbines symbolize adultery (she gave them to Gertrude)

Rue symbolizes repentence (she gave to Claudius)

Daisy symbolizes unhappy love

Violets symbolize faithfulness

 

Thanks, Lmf.  I wonder how wide the "translations" are, in fact, in different editions. 

 

I think the effect of the "vegetation" in HAMLET might be to show Ophelia is close to nature.  Hamlet does not seem so close to nature, it seems as I'm thinking of him this evening.  He's more in his mind, as it were, unable to get a wider perspective.  Ophelia seems to have more of a defeatist attitude in a way, as though she must take whatever happens without a lot of control over it.  Hamlet seems to have almost too much control, too many choices, and can't make up his mind as a result.

 

What do others of you think?

~ConnieAnnKirk




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