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Fennel

Symbolic meaning:
Fennel is used to symbolize worthiness of praise, flattery, strength, protection, healing, and purification. It can also be used to symbolize marital infidelity and cuckoldry.

We think that Ophelia gave fennel to the queen. Possibly the most obvious reason to give her the flower is because she is in a position of power and is someone who would generally receive praise and flattery on a regular basis. Also, the throne of the queen is a powerful position so giving a flower that represents strength makes sense. The theme of protection fits the queen in Hamlet because
the queen seems to be the only one spared by both of the Hamlets. Hamlet resolves not to hurt his mother before confronting her about her marriage to Claudius, and the ghost of the late king also says specifically to leave Gertrude alone when Hamlet gets his revenge. As for marital infidelity, giving the flower to the queen may be hinting that she was having an affair with Claudius before Hamlet Sr. died. This could also account for her quick marriage to Claudius after the king died.



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