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Flowers & Herbs as Rhetorical Device 101 with Professor Ophelia

Hi there. My name is Ophelia. I’m glad you’re here with me today.

We have a small yet vibrant garden here in Elsinore, and even in the off season I have plenty of flowers and herbs to tend. In this lesson today, I will discuss a few particular plants I, personally, hold in high esteem.

We’ll start with my favorite flowers, in no particular order:

1. Pansies. The yellow, white and purple of this flower adds a lovely color to our garden. The pansy is the birth flower of the month of February, and the symbol of the Free Thinkers Society. Young men around here also give pansies to their significant other in courtship, as they represent loving thoughts and remembrance. If you receive a pansy from someone, they want you to remember them in a fond, loving way.

2. Columbines. This delightful little flowers always makes me laugh because it resembles the hat of a court jester - you can see many a fool handing out columbines at royal celebrations. In Greek history, however, columbine was thought to be a symbol of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. It’s quite the juxtaposition, if you ask me.

3. Daisies. When my brother Laertes and I were children, you could often find us with a daisy or two tucked behind our ears - he is particularly fond of this small, white flower. This memory I have of my brother became even more important to me when I learned that the daisy symbolizes innocence and purity - two siblings playing together without a care in the world, I can’t quite think of anything more innocent than that.

4. Last, but certainly not least, Violets. My father loves violets, and I, as a result, love them as well. Being a learned man, my father is quite familiar with the violet’s significance in Greek mythology. The Goddess Artemis had one of her nymph companions disguised as a Violet to keep her from the unrelenting gaze of Apollo, who was obsessed with her. The modesty of the nymph was therefore attributed to the violet. Throughout Christianity, the violet is also seen as a symbol of humility and faithfulness. I believe it to be rather fitting that it is my father’s favorite.

Among the flowers I tend to in Elsinore are various herbs. Although not necessarily as aesthetically pleasing as flowers, each herb has its own significance. Some of my favorites are as follows:

5. Rosemary. Known for its strong fragrance, Rosemary can be seen as a headpiece for a bride at her wedding. On a sadder note, it is commonly placed in the graves of the dead by their loved ones, as a symbol of remembrance.


6. Fennel. Although the small buds on this herb, in multitudes, can be quite charming, fennel is really quite useless. In the middle ages, fennel was used by fasting pilgrims to suppress their appetite. The fennel has become symbolic of things who appear nourishing and loving but in reality have no sustenance or nourishing qualities about them at all.

7. Finally, Rue. As a bitter tasting herb with a high level of toxicity, rue has become a symbol of regret. Also known as “herb grace o’ sundays” or simply “herb o’ grace,” it can also represent repentance or perhaps mercy.

There are, of course, many more plants and herbs that grow here. These ones are simply my favorites.

Thank you for reading! I hope you get to have your own beautiful garden one day.

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