Comparing Fennel And Cheating In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Fennel, a flowering plant species in the carrot family, is used to represent adultery and foolishness. Revealed in the first act of the play, the new King, Claudius, married the Queen, Gertrude, only days after King Hamlet’s death. Hamlet is torn apart by this, expressing anger and declaring their relationship “incestuous”. With this information, Ophelia would have gifted both Claudius and Gertrude fennel to represent the betrayal of Gertrude’s relationship with King Hamlet. Many scholars, including Linda Bamber, professor at Tufts University, argue that Gertrude was cheating on her husband with Claudius while he was still alive, and thus adultery can be used to describe both the new King and old Queen. Bamber goes into detail in her dissertation Comic Women, Tragic Men, that because of the fact that both King Hamlet’s ghost and Hamlet described Gertrude as being incestuous and seduced by Claudius, and because the ghost mentioned how Claudius would give her gifts while he was still alive, prove her adultery (Bamber, “Comic Women, Tragic Men”).…show more content…
Ophelia expresses foolishness through her ignorant and almost puppetry ways. She enables her father, Polonius, as well as her brother Laertes, to push her around and do their dirty work, especially when it comes to spying on Hamlet. Ophelia has little to no sense of self, has no sense of judgement, and seems to rely on others to mold her into who she is. She is foolish to enable the treatment that she has received throughout the play, and has an absence of self-respect. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are also said to be foolish, as they betray their friend Hamlet, the son of King Hamlet, for what they thought would be a gracious reward. Influenced by Claudius and his riches, the duo were summoned back to Elsinore to spy on
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