Symbolism In Shakespeare Romeo And Juliet English Literature Essay

Friar Lawrence comments that every works, herb, and rock has its ain particular belongingss, and that nil exists in nature that can non be put to both good and bad utilizations ( Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008 ) . Later on, Friar Lawrence ‘s words prove to be right. The kiping potion he gives Juliet is made non to do her dice but merely look to be dead, but through fortunes beyond the Friar ‘s control, the potion does ensue in Romeo ‘s self-destruction. From this illustration, we can see that human existences tend to do decease even if they do n’t mean on making so. Similarly, Romeo blames society for the pharmacist ‘s condemnable merchandising of toxicant. Poison symbolizes human society ‘s propensity to poison good things and do them lifelessly, merely as the pointless Capulet-Montague feud turns Romeo and Juliet ‘s love to toxicant. After all, this drama does n’t hold an evil scoundrel, it has people whose good qualities are turned to toxicant by the universe they live in.


By flicking his thumbnail from behind his upper dentition, Samson begins a battle between the Montagues and Capulets. This is an contemptuous gesture known as thumb-biting. He merely did that because he wants to acquire into a battle with the Montagues but does n’t desire to be accused of triping the battle by doing an abuse. Because of his fright, he settles for being raging instead than being disputing. The thumb-biting here shows how stupid and foolish the whole Capulet/Montague feud is, even as an basically nonmeaningful gesture, and the folly of force in general.


It is symbolized as spiritual worship. Romeo calls Juliet a “ saint ” and implies that he ‘d truly wish to “ idolize ” her organic structure. Not merely that, but Romeo ‘s “ manus ” would be “ blessed ” if it touched the Godhead Juliet ‘s. Finally, Juliet picks up on this “ faith of love ” amour propre ( a amour propre is merely an luxuriant metaphor ) and declares that Romeo is “ the God of [ her ] devotion ” ( Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008 ) .

Sexual activity:

The chief illustration of the sex/death connexion in the drama is when Capulet sees Juliet ‘s dead organic structure and says “ decease ” has “ lain with ” ( slept with ) Juliet: “ See, there she lies, / Flower as she was, deflowered by him. Death is my son-in-law, decease is my inheritor ” . “ Shakespeare bookman Marjorie Garber offers one of the most interesting penetrations when she notes that even the manner that Romeo and Juliet each literally die carries symbolic sexual significance. Romeo drinks his toxicant from a goblet, a traditional symbol of female gender ( adult female ‘s uterus ) . Juliet, in contrast, knife herself with Romeo ‘s sticker – a traditional symbol of male gender. Symbolically, Romeo and Juliet combine physical decease and sexual flood tide ” ( Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008 ) . Naturally, sex Acts of the Apostless between work forces and adult females are supposed to ensue in the creative activity of life. Yet, in this drama, the opposite happens.



The skull represents decease and the hereafter. At the cemetery, Hamlet picks up the skull of Yorick and starts to speak to it ; he inquiries decease, and what happens after. He finally realizes that no affair what sort of life a individual may take, they will all decease and stop up in the same topographic point after decease, as mere dust. He so inquiries the importance of being of import while alive, and the importance of being alive in general ( “ Important symbols ” , 2012 ) He talks about how a individual like Yorick could stop up in the same province as Alexander the Great, when he says,

“ as therefore: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of Earth we make loam, and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they non halt a beer-barrel ”

Ophelia ‘s Flowers:

Ophelia has gone huffy. She enters the scene with different types of flowers. She gives these flowers to different people, where each type represents something.

First, she gives the Rosmarinus officinalis to Laertes, which is a symbol of recollection.

She besides gives him Viola tricolor hortensiss, as they represent a symbol of ideas – peculiarly ideas of love. Although she gives both to Laertes, Ophelia most likely has Hamlet in her head when she says, “ There ‘s rosemary, that ‘s for recollection ; pray you, love, retrieve ; and there is Viola tricolor hortensiss, that ‘s for ideas. ”

She so gives fennel and aquilegias to King Claudius. Fennel represents flattery, and aquilegias represent holding no religion in matrimony. They were both given to Claudius because of his matrimony and treachery.

“ Then, Ophelia gives daisies to both King Claudius and Queen Gertrude, which represent fraudulence and prevarications, because they both lied to the populace and betrayed King Hamlet.

Finally, violets are a symbol of religion and many people believe Ophelia gives these to Horatio because at this point, he is the lone 1 that she still has faith in. Besides, although Ophelia does non recognize it, Horatio is the lone individual Hamlet still trusts and has faith in every bit good ” ( “ Importance of ” , 2012 )


Poison plays a large function in Hamlet. It is a symbol of treachery, corruptness, fraudulence, retaliation and decease. Hamlet follows the phantom of his male parent, King Hamlet, and learns the full narrative of how he was killed by Claudius. King Hamlet says, ” aˆ¦Upon my unafraid hr thy uncle stole/ With juice of curst hebenon in a vial, /And in the porches of my ears did pouraˆ¦ ” .

When Claudius kills King Hamlet by pouring toxicant into his ears, it demonstrates how the demand for power can take to corruptness. In this instance, the demand for power is what made Claudius poison his ain brother. Later, when they were be aftering on killing Hamlet, Laertes and Claudius decide to utilize toxicant. When the toxicant really comes into drama, it ends up killing Queen Gertrude ( therefore treachery ) , and finally leads to the decease of Laertes, King Claudius and Hamlet. In other words this shows how the inordinate love of power can take to negative effects, this reminds us of the chief subject in Macbeth


Light and darkness:

When something bad is traveling to go on, darkness is brought up. Lady Macbeth, for illustration, asks “ thick dark ” to come with the “ fume of snake pit, ” so her knife might non see the lesion it makes in the peacefully kiping King. The actual darkness Lady Macbeth negotiations approximately seems to associate to the immorality or “ dark ” act she plans to perpetrate.

When Lady Macbeth calls for the homicidal liquors to forestall “ heaven ” from “ peep [ ing ] through the cover of the dark to shout ‘Hold, Hold! ‘ ” she implies that visible radiation ( here associated with God, heaven, and goodness ) offers protection from evil and is the lone thing that could halt her from slaying Duncan. So, it makes sense that when Lady Macbeth descends to madness, she insists on ever holding a taper or, “ visible radiation ” with her as if the visible radiation might protect her against the evil forces she herself summoned in Act I, scene v. However, the candle flame does n’t look to hold done her any good, for she is excessively far gone and commits suicide.

Interestingly plenty, Macbeth responds to the intelligence of Lady Macbeth ‘s self-destruction by proclaiming “ out, out brief taper ” . Now, the taper ‘s fire has become a like a symbol for her short life and sudden decease. Similarly, Banquo ‘s torchlight ( the 1 that illuminates him merely plenty so his liquidators can see what they ‘re making ) is alsoA extinguishedA the minute he ‘s killed. Besides, on the eventide when King Duncan is murdered, Lennox reports that the fire in his chimney was cryptically “ blown ” out.

Eight male monarchs:

When Macbeth visits the enchantresss and demands to cognize whether or non Banquo ‘s inheritor will go male monarchs, they summon a vision of eight male monarchs, the last of which holds a mirror that reflects on many more such male monarchs. Macbeth is truly unhappy about the fact that these are Banquo ‘s inheritor. It ‘s of import to observe that one of the male monarchs in the mirror happens to be keeping two eyeballs and is a symbolic representation of King James I of England ( a.k.a. King James VI of Scotland ) , who traced his derivation back to Banquo. At James ‘s enthronement ceremonial in England ( 1603 ) , he held two eyeballs ( one stand foring England and the other stand foring Scotland ) . We ca n’t disregard the fact that King James was a major frequenter of Shakespeare, and that the Bard here shows his debt of gratitude to the King by researching his Scots roots and corroborating the derivation of anA EnglishA male monarch.

Bloody stickers and custodies:

Blood is mentionedA a lotA in this drama. Blood as a consequence of existent lesions is about omnipresent, from the shed blooding Captain in the beginning to Macbeth ‘s shed blooding caput at the terminal. However, it ‘s theA imaginedA blood that arguably has the biggest consequence as a symbol. When Macbeth considers slaying King Duncan, he sees a drifting “ sticker of the head ” that points him in the way of the kiping male monarch ‘s room. While Macbeth admirations if his head is messing with him, the sticker becomes covered in fanciful blood, which anticipates the manner thatA really existent stickers will be tainted when Macbeth slayings King Duncan.A

It ‘s still non clear where the images come from. It could be the enchantresss or Macbeth ‘s imaginativeness or possibly its Macbeth being tempted to follow or warned non to prosecute the hallucination. Finally, imagined blood starts to typify guilt for both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. After he murders Duncan, Macbeth supposes that even “ Great Neptune ‘s ocean ” could non rinse away his discoloration of guilt. This is evidently in response to Lady Macbeth ‘s bid that Macbeth “ travel acquire some H2O / and wash this foul informant ” from his custodies. The thought that H2O entirely could n’t cleanse the brace after such coarse purposes seems absurd, particularly when Lady Macbeth famously curses the fanciful “ topographic point ” of blood she ca n’t look to rinse from her guilty custodies. After Macbeth kills his friend Banquo, who returns as a shade, Macbeth announces that “ blood will engender blood ” , and his image of wading in a river of blood amounts up the lesson: one time you ‘ve gone far plenty in sloping it, you might merely every bit good maintain on traveling. LADy Macbeth is seeking to rinse the blood off her custodies and even when its washed off the guilt is n’t

Dead kids:

You may hold noticed this drama is filled with dead babes and slain kids. The enchantresss throw into their caldron a “ finger of birth-strangled baby ” and so cite an phantom of a bloody kid that says Macbeth will non be harmed by any adult male “ of adult female born ” . Besides, Fleance witnesses his male parent ‘s slaying before about being killed himself, Macbeth kills Young Siward, and besides Macduff ‘s immature boy, his “ reasonably lily-livered, ” is called an “ egg ” before he ‘s murdered.

If we think about it, the drama seems fixated on what happens when household lines are extinguished, which is likely what Macbeth has in head when he orders that his enemies ‘ kids be killed. His willingness to slay kids is a clear mark that he ‘s passed the point of no return. We can follow all of this dorsum to Macbeth ‘s choler that Banquo ‘s “ kids shall be male monarchs ” and Macbeth ‘s kids will non. Remember the manner he deplores that, when the enchantresss predicted he would be king, they placed a “ bootless Crown ” on his caput and a “ bare sceptre ” in his hands.A

When Macbeth kills Duncan and takes the Crown, Malcolm is denied “ the due of birth. ” At the terminal of the drama, order is rebuilt with the promise of Malcolm being crowned as the rightful male monarch. Besides, we know that Banquo ‘s line will govern for coevalss to come. So, it ‘s instead fitting that, in the terminal, Macbeth is killed by a adult male who was “ prematurely ripped ” from his female parent ‘s uterus. ( Macduff, who turns out to be the cat who is non “ of adult female born. ” He was delivered through cesarian subdivision, which does n’t number as being “ born ” in this drama. )

In decision, we can state that Shakespeare include a batch of symbolism throughout his dramas which portrayed Shakespeare ‘s life, clip period, and messages he wished to acquire across to his audience. Most of these symbols are timeless, because they represent human nature that is the same in all epochs of clip.

Work cited

The Modern Language Review, Vol. 42, No. 1 ( Jan. , 1947 ) , pp. 9-23 Published by: Modern Humanities Research Association Article Stable URL: hypertext transfer protocol: //

St. Rosemary Educational Institution. “ Important Symbols in Hamlet. ” hypertext transfer protocol: // . St. Rosemary Educational Institution, Last Update: 2012. Web. Retrieved on: Sunday 16th December 2012. hypertext transfer protocol: // .

Shmoop Editorial Team. “ Love as Religious Worship in Romeo and Juliet ” Shmoop University, Inc. , 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.

Shmoop Editorial Team. ( November 11, 2008 ) .Plants and Poison in Romeo and Juliet. Retrieved December 17, 2012, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Shmoop Editorial Team. ( November 11, 2008 ) .Sex and Death in Romeo and Juliet. Retrieved December 17, 2012, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Shmoop Editorial Team. ( November 11, 2008 ) .Thumb Biting in Romeo and Juliet. Retrieved December 17, 2012, from hypertext transfer protocol: //