The History and Significance of Roses in Literature
Jan 01, 2023
Roses, called "the queen of flowers," have deep symbolic meanings in many cultures and religions, including Christianity, classical mythology, and contemporary literature.
Writers have referenced roses since Shakespeare. Everyone knows a rose-related literary term from a book, play, or poem. Roses can imply numerous things depending on the situation. Use a free flyer maker to investigate rose symbolism in literature. A free flyer maker lets you create flyers that display the different sorts of roses in literature or their symbolic implications.
To get a better grasp of rose symbolism in literature, it's helpful first to examine the nature of symbolism itself—the roses' symbolic implications in the language of flowers and the deeper meaning behind it all.
Roses and Their Literary Meanings
The symbolic significance of a rose can be deduced, in large part, from its hue. Red often represents love, white, innocence/purity, and friendship is often denoted by yellow, whereas black means death and blue mystery. These are just a few of the popular connotations associated with the many colors of roses.
However, when it comes to literature, throughout history, many different artists have used the rose as a metaphor for beauty and perfection. Depending on who you choose, every poet has had an exciting yet similar take.
Oscar Wilde's "The Nightingale and the Rose"
‘He threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.’
In this tragic tale, the rose stands for selflessness. The nightingale sacrificed herself to make the rose, which the student will use to win the heart of the woman he loves and make her happy. But if things don't work out, the pupil won't be able to appreciate the nightingale's sacrifice in creating the rose. Another time roses serve as a gentle reminder to count our blessings.
William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"
‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name, would smell as sweet.’
This is arguably the most famous line from all of Shakespeare. Here he utilizes the rose to symbolize the idea that a thing's beauty and virtue are unaffected by its name. Juliet wishes her family would stop labeling Romeo as a member of the Capulet family and start seeing him as a person.
Roses and Their Significance Across Literary Genres
Whether it be poetry, a written book, or drama, Roses are typically associated with particular meanings. From a cultural perspective, it’s not different cultures that incorporate roses differently—some for love, others for condolences.
Roses in Poems
Probably the most well-known implementation of roses in literature comes in the form of poetry.
We all know of the poem:
‘Roses are red,
Violets are blue….’
This is just one example. Throughout history, there have been numerous examples of the use of roses to write a poem. Some examples include Edmund Waller's 'Go, Lovely Rose,' Robert Burns 'A Red, Red Rose,' William Blake's 'The Sick Rose,' and many, many more.
Roses in Drama
Roses are often the topic in many plays, dramas, comedies, and cartoons. Beauty and the Beast is the most famous example. If they are not the exact topic, there are many examples where a rose is used symbolically in the play.
A rose can be a part of the title, a metaphor for love from one character to another, and as a symbol, not just roses, but flowers, in general, are used to convey how one character feels about the other.
Flower language, or floriography
During the Victorian era in Britain and the United States, it became more popular to write down the meanings of flowers made up by culture in the form of dictionaries. The word for this "language of flowers" is "florography."
It was concluded that different flowers had different meanings depending on their kind and color.
Red flowers shine out, making them popular. Red or vibrant flowers should always be included in a bouquet for someone you love. Red flowers symbolize boldness, esteem, and burning desire. They also decorate heavily for Christmas since red is the color of joy!
White flowers, humble and innocent in appearance, are ideal for a wedding or to gift to a family that has just had a baby. However, white flowers symbolize death and sadness in Asia; hence, sending white flowers to an Asian wedding would be inappropriate.
A massive bouquet of sunny yellow flowers is the perfect way to brighten a friend's day. The sight of bright, cheerful yellow flowers is guaranteed to put a grin on your face. And it's easy to see why; it conveys feelings of merriment, buoyancy, and companionship. The sunny meanings associated with yellow flowers make them a wonderful housewarming or birthday present.
Finally, numerous authors have explored the rose's literary meaning. From Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde, roses symbolize love, beauty, and selflessness. Researching roses' academic importance and interpretations is fascinating. Explore symbolism and flower meanings. Roses come in a kaleidoscope of colors, each with a purpose. Flower symbolism helps us understand language's power and beauty.