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Art Show: Much Ado about Shakespeare

Ophelia Immortal

by Jasmine Ann Becket-Griffith

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Shakespeare's Hamlet and the story of Ophelia

The story of Ophelia has always been a favorite of mine. Beautiful Ophelia entrusts her happiness with the males in her life...yet this is her downfall. When she betrays Hamlet, she loses him, driving her to madness. It all ends with her sad floral songs at the entrancing brook, where her adornment drowns her.

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.

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