Opheila, Henrietta Rae (Mrs Ernest Normand) (1859-1928)
|And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field... - Genesis 2,19-20|
When Adam is given the task of naming of the beasts, man is also given authority over the animal kingdom. As for the naming of the fauna, that task is reserved for women - at least by Shakespeare. In Shakespeare's time, plants had literal and symbolic values which were recorded by the herbalist John Gerard in his Historie of Pants (1633 and 1636). On the literal side, Gerard referred to them as "simples that have virtue"- mdeicinal herbs that have the power to heal. They also had symbolic powers which were recorded in the Herbals of the time and in the folklore.
In this section, we explore the plants and flowers mentioned in Hamlet, and look at their symbolic values.