Ophelia by John William Waterhouse
Hamlet has always been my all-time favorite Shakespeare play. And Ophelia has always been one of my all-time favorite literary characters. It works out then that one of my favorite artists – John William Waterhouse – painted Ophelia in some of his artwork. The above picture used to hang over my bed and, as a teenager, I would stare at it, taking in the colors and the beauty. To this day, I still love this painting, the play, and Ophelia. I love Ophelia so much that I even named one of my cats after her. But, still, I can’t say that I love her as much as Hamlet believed that he did…
‘Swounds, show me what thou’t do.
Woo’t weep, woo’t fight, woo’t fast, woo’t tear thyself,
Woo’t drink up eisel, eat a crocodile?
I’ll do’t. Dost come here to whine,
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart. Nay, and thou’lt mouth,
I’ll rant as well as thou.
Act V, Scene I
In my opinion, the best theatrical version of this play was done by Kenneth Branagh and during this scene, he is in Ophelia’s grave. And, for some reason, as a teenager, I found literary hunks leaping into graves, clutching the corpse of their beloved, to be TOTALLY dreamy.
Hamlet and Ophelia... INTENSE!
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