Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Act IV, scene vii

The image of Ophelia drowning amid her garlands of flowers has proved to be one of the most enduring images in the play, represented countless times by artists and poets throughout the centuries. Ophelia is associated with flower imagery from the beginning of the play. In her first scene, Polonius presents her with a violet; after she goes mad, she sings songs about flowers; and now she drowns amid long streams of them. The fragile beauty of the flowers resembles Ophelia’s own fragile beauty, as well as her nascent sexuality and her exquisite, doomed innocence.


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