The Romance of the Rose Setting & Symbolism

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The Roseappears in Lines 1691 onwards

The Rose is the ultimate goal of the narrator and he desires to pick it. The Rose is red and stands upright on a straight stalk surrounded by four pairs of leaves. It is only just starting to open and as Bialacoil says, it is not quite ready to be plucked. It has an intense sweet perfume that is ravishing.

De Lorris is ambiguous about what the Rose represents. The Rose could represent the woman's heart, love and favour; or it could represent her sexuality or even her virginity. De Meun is more specific, saying that the Rose represents virginity.

The link between the red Rose and romantic/erotic love is almost an archetype in Western literature. Roses, especially red ones on the point of opening, are still considered to be a highly romantic gift. There is probably a sound scientific/biological reason...

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This section contains 1,220 words
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Buy The Romance of the Rose Study Guide
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