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Give a critical appreciation of The Blessed Damozel, Stanza 1, in relation to symbolism.

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narayanpaul | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 28, 2010 at 11:09 PM via web

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Give a critical appreciation of The Blessed Damozel, Stanza 1, in relation to symbolism.

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:33 AM (Answer #1)

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti in The Blessed Damozel relies heavily on symbolism. For example, in the first stanza, he mentions flowers in general, lilies and "a white rose." As a Victorian poet, Rossetti was well versed in flower symbolism, which became a high art in the--in some ways voiceless--Victorian era. Flower symbolism began in some ancient religions and flowers were linked to deities like Apollo and Diana. Therefore, Rossetti's use of "flowers" ties the Blessed Damozel to a religious theme. The symbols of specific flowers had enlarged meanings in the Victorian era., during which the lily was readily associated with chastity, virtue, the Trinity, faith, beauty, sweetness, virginity, and purity, among other things. This again enforces a religious theme in addition to introducing a theme of virgin purity. The meaning associated with the rose, of any color, is love and remembrance. The white rose, a gift to the damozel from Christ's Mother "Mary" for the virtue of service to others, is specifically associated with the meaning of purity. This symbolism underscores the theme of virgin purity. The introduction of Mary narrows the religious theme to the Christian religion.

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