Orchid, crow feather, resin, wax, ink, glass, grasshopper.


This painting shows a different, more modern, take on the Ophelia story. The white dress represents Ophelia; it is white, like a wedding dress, which represents her love, and it has been submerged in a bathtub, which shows that that love has not been returned. When she realizes this, she takes her own life.

-Uploaded by Whitney Martin

from: http://hlnguyen.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/ophelia.jpg
external image ophelia.jpg

Poem: Ophelia by Arthur Rimbaud

On the calm black water where the stars are sleeping
White Ophelia floats like a great lily;
Floats very slowly, lying in her long veils...
- In the far-off woods you can hear them sound the mort.
For more than a thousand years sad Ophelia
Has passed, a white phantom, down the long black river.
For more than a thousand years her sweet madness
Has murmured its ballad to the evening breeze.
The wind kisses her breasts and unfolds in a wreath
Her great veils rising and falling with the waters;
The shivering willows weep on her shoulder,
The rushes lean over her wide, dreaming brow.
The ruffled water-lilies are sighing around her;
At times she rouses, in a slumbering alder,
Some nest from which escapes a small rustle of wings;
- A mysterious anthem falls from the golden stars.
O pale Ophelia! beautiful as snow!
Yes child, you died, carried off by a river!
- It was the winds descending from the great mountains of Norway
That spoke to you in low voices of better freedom.
It was a breath of wind, that, twisting your great hair,
Brought strange rumors to your dreaming mind;
It was your heart listening to the song of Nature
In the groans of the tree and the sighs of the nights;
It was the voice of mad seas, the great roar,
That shattered your child's heart, too human and too soft;
It was a handsome pale knight, a poor madman
Who one April morning sate mute at your knees!
Heaven! Love! Freedom! What a dream, oh poor crazed Girl!
You melted to him as snow does to a fire;
Your visions strangled your words
- And fearful Infinity terrified your blue eye!
- And the poet says that by starlight
You come seeking, in the night, the flowers that you picked
And that he has seen on the water, lying in her long veils
White Ophelia floating, like a great lily.
Arthur Rimbaud

Death and Imago

The piece shows Ophelia's suicide and illustrates the fragile balance between life and death. The circle with Ophelia drowning inside is encased by black, which may symbolize death closing in around her as her life slips away. The air bubbles, which are the last signs that she is alive, are floating away to the surface as she floats down to the dark weeds, which blend in with the dark outer circle of death surrounding her. The water closing in, the black weeds entangling her, and the encroaching darkness all show that she is doomed and cannot escape. Life no longer seems perfect, but timid and dim in the dark water around her. It has been taken off the "pedastal" and shown as it really is, which Opelia sees in her last moments.

-Uploaded by Whitney Martin

PAINTING: Ophelia by John Everett Millais


Ophelia by Alexandre Cabanel

external image 800px-Alexandre_Cabanel%2C_Ophelia.JPG
-Uploaded by Sierra Debrow

Ophelia by Odilon Redon, 1910

Uploaded by John Murden
Uploaded by John Murden

Hamlet: act IV, scene vii

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Odilon Redon

Crows and Association with Death

Excerpt from The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W.Y. Evans-Wentz
"It is interesting to observe that this Irish war-goddess, the bodb or badb, considered of old to be one of the Tuatha De Danann, has survived to our own day in the fairy-lore of the chief Celtic countries. In Ireland the survival is best seen in the popular and still almost general belief among the peasantry that the fairies often exercise their magical powers under the form of royston-crows; and for this reason these birds are always greatly dreaded and avoided. The resting of one of them on a peasant's cottage may signify many things, but often it means the death of one of the family or some great misfortune, the bird in such a case playing the part of a bean-sidhe (banshee)."

I noticed that a crow feather was used in Ophelia and remembered crows as having an association with death. I researched it and found out that crows have that association because of the Irish goddess Badb who was the goddess of war. Some people believe that if you see a crow some type of misfortune will befall you, most often death. Since Ophelia is dying by drowning I thought the crow feather symbolized her death and misfortune.

-Uploaded by Jami Bunton

Ophelia and Giselle

When I look at this image, it reminds me of one of my favorite and one of the most classical ballets: Giselle. It's a story of a young peasant girl who falls in love with a man who is pretending to be a farm worker, but whose real identity is that of royalty. With his social status, she is forbidden to marry him (surprise, surprise). In the ballet, Giselle eventually discovers the truth of his identity. Heartbroken, and mad with grief, she takes a sword and plunges it into her heart. Although she does not literally drown herself in water, Giselle in this scene drowns herself in grief. Her costume in the version that I saw also resembled the one that Ophelia wears in this piece. The resemblance between the two symbolically is present.
Giselle is pictured below taking her right hand and pointing at her left ring finger. This is a common gestures that means marriage. She understands, in the scene below, that she can not marry the man she wants, and following this gesture, she will take the sword and kill herself.


-Uploaded by Rachel Tunney

external image young-girl-in-a-field.JPG
This painting closely resembles the art piece Ophelia. The color of the girl's dress matches that of Ophelia's. The colors change from bright and lively in the field to dark in the tree figure, symbolizing death. The girl is looking in the direction towards death, and she soon will be approaching it when she dies in the brook. She also happens to die by falling out of a tree into the water, as some myths say (while others say she commited suicide).

-Uploaded by Casey Davis

Meaning of Ophelia

The definition of Ophelia is help or aid. This could easily apply to Ophelia circumstances during the play Hamlet that led up her supposed suicide. For example her situation with Hamlet was horrible, and soon after Hamlet gives his to be or not to be speech Ophelia falls into madness Hence the term of Ophelia, she needed help and, her name adds irony to the situation, because nobody acknowledged her need even though it was obvious that she needed it. Her name gives of obvious representation of the tragedy of her character.

-Uploaded by Chandler Louisell


Definition of Drown:ie from being submerged in water, getting water into the lungs, and asphyxiating

is the literal definition of drowning, however, in dreams or in more symbolic terms drowning can often represent a fear of being swallowed up or overcome by something. Ophelia could have easily feared her madness over taking her, and the fact that her death is by drowning could this be symbolic of her final moments of sanity and that it did over take her. Or did Ophelia ever really drown or was the whole concept of her death being by drowning simply symbolic of her madness and she was actually murdered?

-Uploaded by Chandler Louisell

Ophelia: Daniel Yaussy
Through my interpretation, the significance of this scene would be the eeriness of the girl and beauty of the scene. She has her hands out stretched underwater as if she is dancing and yet she is suffering from her past experience and trauma. Another thing that adds to the scene is the bubbles that arose in the resin of the piece. When talking with Ben Timpson, he said that the bubbles were unintentional and they had appeared due to the air entrapped inside. However these pockets of air add to the scene to show that she is underwater and her possible struggle as the air escapes from her mouth.

Painting: Young Christian Martyr by: Paul Delaroche 1855


When first seeing Ophelia and the other pictures that people had added to the wiki, I immediately thought of this painting that I saw at the Louvre in Paris. The idea of the subject being surrounded by black is present in both pieces of art. Also, they have simmilar color palettes, consisting of dark blues and blacks with tints of cream. In each pieces of art, the subject is engulfed in water. In Timpson's Ophelia the subject seems to still be living; while, in the Delaroche's painting the subject is dead, appearing to have committed suicide or to have been murdered.
Posted By: Emily Vogt

Lyrics to "Ophelia" by Kula Shaker

Oh my child, how I need you
Precious heart, young Ophelia
Willow veil'd, silken sail'd
Floating through my dreams
You were tired of this shadow life
Of fears that holds us tight
I will lie beside the river now
For ever and a night
For ever and a night
Doubt the stars are on fire
Doubt Truth to be a liar
But never doubt I love you
'Till the day I die
Like a breeze upon a summer's eve
You blew into my mind
I will wait upon your precious heart
Until the day I die
My Ophelia x 5

These lyrics are describe Ophelia's death in a more general way than done specifically in Shakespeare's "Hamelt." The story of Ophelia describes a woman who fell in love with Hamlet who goes mad and in seeing her beloved in this mental state of disarray commits suicide by drowning herself. The tragedy of this story is Ophelia, a true, innocent, and very in love is pushed to the most desperate of measures of suicide. For me these lyrics further relate her innocence to this piece. The endearing terms created to describe Ophelia like "precious" and "never doubt I love you" seem to fit nicely with the innocence of Ophelia's figure seen in this piece floating (as also described as doing so lyrically) with her billowing gowns spread around her.

-Uploaded by Elise Gruber

Between Two Planes

Many of Shakespeare’s plays look into the conflict between what he believed to be two planes of law. One was natural law, a concept that presented the world as governed by violent and impulsive actions. Natural law did not employ justice, but dispensed punishment only in the form of reprocussions of an individual’s actions, which could lead to an undeserved fate for another. The second plane of law was the law of God, which brought in the idea of mercy. Like natural law, God’s law was not fair, as the forgiveness it offered was given only on the condition of true repentance and could therefore be obtained by anyone. In many of his works, Shakespeare highlights man’s effort to find a reasonable solution between these two planes through the concept of justice. His plays point out that this search may be a wild goose chase, and that no true middle ground may exist; humanity will eventually turn to one side or the other. Similarly, in Ben Timpson’s artwork “Ophelia”, Ophelia floats between two planes: the surface and the bottom. In this scene, she has rejected continuing to live, turning her face away from the light at the surface. However, she is looking off to the side rather than to the bottom, almost as if she wishes there was some middle ground between the suffering of life and the uncertainty of death. In this moment of hovering between the two planes, she seems to secondguess her descision and reconsider the advantages of each extreme.

-Uploaded by Mary Lawrence

Ophelia: the Lady of the Lake

In the old legends of King Arthur, the "Lady of the Lake" is seen as somewhat of a muse to the protagonist, possessing the key to his success, Excalibur. The Lady of the Lake is also responsible for enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father. One of the several well-known names for the lady of the lake is Viviane, which sounds similar to the word "vivacious" meaning lively. The water in which she thrives is a symbol of rebirth.
In Hamlet, Ophelia acts as a muse in the play. At a point in the play she hands out flowers, the rue, specifically, and hands them out, explaining their symbolic meanings. The definition of the word "rue" is
n. regret, sorrow
v. to fell sorrow, remorse or regret
Later in the plot, Ophelia drowns in a brook, "incapable of her own distress," but still an important muse to the work. Although water represents rebirth, Ophelia ironically died in the brook.
Although their reasons and actions may vary, the two stories exemplify a muse in a body of water, crucial to the significance of the work.

-Uploaded by CJ Shepard

external image Ladyofthelake1.jpg

The Ophelia Project

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The Ophelia Project serves youth and adults who are affected by relational and other non-physical forms of aggression by providing them with a unique combination of tools, strategies and solutions. To achieve long-term systemic change, we help build capabilities to measurably reduce aggression and promote a positive, productive environment for all. The Ophelia Project believes that everyone deserves a safe, healthy setting for personal and professional growth. Whether it’s a child in a classroom or a worker in his or her office, everyone should expect a secure environment, free from emotional torment. We believe that each individual can contribute to creating these safe social climates, in the home, in the school, throughout their communities and within the workplace.

What is a safe social climate? It’s an environment where people are protected, respected, encouraged and held accountable for their actions. It also fosters inclusion, healthy relationships and civility. In a safe social climate, every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

This is an interesting organization that I found that helps to provide a good social climate in our modern day society. This will help to prevent people form killing themselves like Ophelia does. This is important to our society where suicide is a growing cause of death.

-Uploaded by Libby Zanin

When I Look to the Sky lyrics by Train

[Verse 1]
When it rains it pours and opens doors
And floods the floors we thought would always keep us safe and dry
And in the midst of sailing ships we sink our lips into the ones we love
That have to say goodbye

And as I float along this ocean
I can feel you like a notion that won't seem to let me go

Cause when I look to the sky something tells me you're here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I'm lost something tells me you're here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here
And as I float along this ocean
I can feel you like a notion that I hope will never leave

[Verse 3]
Whether I am up or down or in or out or just plane overhead
Instead it just feels like it is impossible to fly
But with you I can spread my wings
to see me over everything that life may send me
When I am hoping it won't pass me by

And when I feel like there is no one that will ever know me
there you are to show me
This is only a small portion of the song by Train, but it seemed like the most important part to me. Immediately when I saw this picture, this song popped into my head. The most obvious reason is because Ophelia is looking up, "to the sky", just like in the song lyrics. This song also references water a lot. The mood of the peice of art directly correlates to the peacuful tune of the song. Most importantly, even though Ophelia is drowning, she is looking up like there is something out there that can save her, just like in teh song when it says, "when I look to the sky, something tells me you're here for me".

BOOK: Dating Hamlet by Lisa Fiedler

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In teh original Shakespeare version of Hamlet, Ophelia kills herself. This background information can give the picture a darker message, as if Ophelia is done living and just wants to surrender herself to the darkness. However, Dating Hamlet gives a different take on the original story line. In this version, Ophelia fake kills herself, much like Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. She does this so that she can stay with Hamlet, so I think this piece of art shows that love never dies. Buuubbles are usually associated with joy and frivolity, and the fact that they are rising up out of the darkness gives a lighter take to this piece. The way Ophelia has her hands up and her skirt is flying in the air gives the illusion that this was a picture taken almost in the middle of a dance, showing that Ophelia is actually full of life and there is so much more in store for her.

-Uploaded by OJ Guzzardo