Hamlet Imagery Essay

817 Words 4 Pages
Shakespeare’s reputation for using imagery in his plays is perfectly exemplified in Hamlet. Among the many instances of imagery in the play, the scene in which Ophelia distributes her imaginary flowers, Act IV, Scene v, is an example of how Shakespeare conveys the realities of his characters. The traditional characteristics of each flower are specific to each character of the play and allude to their previous experiences, actions, or personalities. Ophelia’s invisible bouquet, collected in the midst of her madness, is a synthesis of the entire play. A confusing aspect of this scene is the accuracy with which she gives out the flowers, regardless of her apparent madness. She eloquently distributes each invisible flower:
There 's rosemary,
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One of these is a daisy, a symbol for innocence and gentleness. She gives this flower to no one. This fitting gesture is bold and again makes the reader wonder if Ophelia is truly mad. She is coherent enough to recognize the widespread disarray in her environment. From the murder of King Hamlet, to the constant deception, to the very last scene of the play where everyone dies, it is apparent that no one cares for innocence or gentleness. The second flowers that Ophelia can give to no one are violets. She claims that they withered away when her father died. The reader can interpret that Polonius, one of the least corrupt and morally unsound characters in the play, was the last example of faithfulness and fidelity among the court. Although he may have used Ophelia, he was still an upstanding member of the court, someone who had committed to great moral evil.
The imagery used in the scene where Ophelia distributes her invisible bouquet represents all the events in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It highlights bitterness, lack of good sense, adultery, and a lack of gentleness. These characteristics are made known loudly by the actions of the court, but it is still a surprise that the crazy Ophelia could see this. It leads the reader to wonder if Ophelia was truly as mad as she seemed; she was used as a vehicle for Shakespeare’s detailed imagery. Her last appearance in the play is like a summary of all that has happened and will happened, through the imagery of

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