Rose is a flower whose meaning has changed with time. From a symbol of life to a symbol of virtue, it has changed many colours. It still remains the best friend of lovers and has the power to light up anyone's world with just one glimpse.In English, French, Danish, Norwegian and German languguage, a rose is a rose. In Italy Rose is known as ‘rosa’, in Hungarian ‘rozsa’, in Lithuanian ‘roze’ and in Polish Catalian and Portuguese ‘rosa’.Pronunciation in different languages is different. In literature, roses often symbolize love and beauty; therefore, they represent women, too. Roses are a frequently used flower symbol. The rose was made for symbolism, metaphor, allusion. They are beautiful flowers – in the wild, each bearing the symbolically charged number of five petals, which bloom alongside vicious thorns. When petals are distilled into rose water or rose oil, all are captivated. To a Christian, a rose is a symbol of heaven and harmony in the world. Furthermore, the rose is considered the flower of the Virgin Mary.
The colour of the rose is often significant, red for romantic love, white for purity and yellow for friendship. Like the sun, 'Rose' is an important symbol in literature. As we are all familiar with the ' poem, which is so dear to all our hearts “O, my luve's like a red, red rose,/ That's newly sprung in June.” In these two lines, rose is compared to his love. The influence of this flower in the great poet’s life can be seen through these lines.Roses are wonderful symbols and in a way represent life. A rose, especially one that is still alive, can also carry overtones of growth, renewal. They also have thorns, which represent the pain or hurt hidden in the beauty, as in "love hurts". From a more practical viewpoint rose bushes can also provide a barrier. But more than the practical uses, poets have truly understood the flower of love. As in ‘Love’s Rose’ Shelley wrote: “Love's rose a host of thorns invests;/Cold, ungenial is the clime,/Where its honours blow. /Youth says, 'The purple flowers are mine,'/which die the while they glow.In A Rose for Emily the rose is symbolic...a sort of nod in her direction for her success as an aristocratic representative, the last of her kind.
Rose is projected on to our dreams and our stories, our emotional, spiritual and sexual selves. All are captivated by this extraordinary plant. The rose’s association with Marian imagery in Christian art and thought, which won through after an initial ascetic resistance to sensual adornment associated with pagan practices and turned it into a symbol of purity. The Virgin was a rose without thorns, "a white rose by reason of her virginity", explained Bernard of Clairvaux in the twelfth century, “a red rose by reason of her charity; white in her body, red in her soul; white in cultivating virtue, red in treading down vice”. The thirteenth-century Roman de la Rosecontains within its dream narrative an extended sexual allegory of the Lover’s assault on his quarry, the Rose, until at the last “I took the bud at my pleasure.”
At the end of the fourteenth century, the poet Christine de Pizan sought to reclaim the rose from its increasing freight of misogynist innuendo. Her Lady Loyalty presented vermilion and white blooms to those knights who promise to defend, rather than assail, a woman’s reputation. That she did not succeed is clear from the lament of Shakespeare’s Cleopatra: “See, my women, / Against the blown rose may they stop their nose / That kneeled unto the buds”. By the seventeenth century, “a Rose half blown” had become a standard medical description of female genitals; “and thence”, explained the herbalist , “came the word to “deflower a Virgin”.