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I was recently at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, where I was not surprised to hear many references to plants in Shakespeare's plays, but I was surprised to notice that the playwright employed the symbolism of trees, flowers, and herbs in his tragedies and histories.
Plants were the stuff of not only romance and passion, they were also emblems of despair, fear, and decay. A look at Shakespeare's botanic symbolism reveals how our associations with plants have changed over the past several centuries, and, of course, how beautifully he wound together the human experience with the botanic life cycle.