What Does Ophelia's Body Symbolize In Hamlet

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In Act IV, scene v, Laertes has just come back from France and he went to the throne room to question the King about the whereabouts of his father. The King tells Laertes that his father is dead. As Laertes and King Claudius discuss who could’ve killed Polonius, Ophelia prances in covered in flowers while she singing random ballads. Laertes exclaims that his sister has gone mad, but little does he know that Hamlet is the cause of Ophelia’ current state of mind. In Act IV, scene v, Ophelia’s madness was caused by the death of her father. Indirectly, Hamlet caused Ophelia to go to her lowest self by killing her father. The flowers on Ophelia’s body symbolize her state of mind and show the extent of her grief in this scene. Polonius’ murder was…show more content…
In Act IV, scene v, Ophelia comes in the throne room singing and giving out flowers. When she gives out a flower, she explains what it represents. These flowers are very symbolic in terms of her insanity and her grief. Whether these flowers are real or imaginary is questionable. The first flower she hands out is rosemary and she says it is for remembrance. Her brother relates her madness to the flower’s meaning of remembrance. Ophelia explains the other flowers’ meanings and gets distracted from her flower explanations when she mentions violets. Ophelia says, “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 […].” Ophelia was triggered when she mentioned the violets. She immediately connected them to death which made her slip back into her singing. The flowers’ meanings connect to her madness in which every meaning explains her current condition. Ophelia is remembering her father’s death (the rosemary and violet meanings) and she feels great sorrow for her father’s death (the rue’s meaning). Also, how fragile she is in this scene exposes her innocence to death (the daisy’s meaning). Ophelia’s madness is represented through the flowers she gives out and they also expose her
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