Saturday, October 6, 2007


Ophelia. John Everett Millais.

I really prefer this to the Waterhouse depiction of Ophelia.

I must have been 17 or 18 when I "discovered" this painting, she really affected me and since then I've always been intrigued. I do not know "why" she affects me so. I don't really need to know. She has always sort of haunted me somehow, but in a beautiful way. I think I seek her out at certain points in my life. Maybe its because I understood how she loved a slightly "mad" Hamlet. Maybe its the ethereal feeling though she is dead. Is she truly dead? Perhaps because her surroundings seem familiar to me--the mossy, wooded streams and riverbanks I played alongside as a child. Perhaps its also because I fell in love with Shakespeare's work as a young teen, after I'd fallen deeply into Greek tragedies. I just remember English literature class, with the rest of the kids rolling their eyes to have to read Shakespeare's works while I relished it and felt it taking hold of my heart and mind.

I would love to see this painting in person someday at the Tate. I could likely look into the woods around her, the details of the flowers and plants, her hands and face, for hours. I'll probably cry. Its what just happens to me sometimes when I'm so affected by certain pieces of art. I'm glad I am still that open and naive......

And how we humans still go about things in the same way as William wrote.....

Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?

No, my good lord, but, as you did command,
I did repel his letters and denied
His access to me.

That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not quoted him: I fear'd he did but trifle,
And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king:
This must be known; which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.

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