Essay On Ophelia

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Amanda Pilat Ms. Givens Honors World Literature 20 November 2017 Hamlet Activity: John Everett Millais’s painting Ophelia Step 1 According to Gertrude, Ophelia climbed up, and was sitting on the branch of a willow tree. The willow tree branch then snapped, plummeting Ophelia into the brook below. Once Ophelia was in the water, she began singing, seemingly unaware that the weight of her clothing was pulling her down towards the bottom of the brook. Eventually, Ophelia was weighed down by her saturated clothing, and she drowned. As she begins to drown, Ophelia does not fight the water, instead, she begins to sing. This makes it obvious that Ophelia is not in the right state of mind for she either is simply unaware that she is drowning, or she does not care. Either way, it goes to show that she is lacking a sound mind. When Gertrude relay’s Ophelia’s death to Laertes and Claudius, she describes Ophelia’s clothing as “mermaid-like”. This creates a visual image of Ophelia’s clothes being billowed out around her as she is drowning. This is a factor in Ophelia’s drowning because as her clothes are spreading out around her in the water, they are soaking up more moisture, making them way heavier, which pulls her down toward her death. The image of Ophelia as a mermaid in her final moments tell the audience that Ophelia was beautifully and unbothered during her death. As mermaids are typically beautiful women who swim in the sea, by comparing Ophelia to one, it creates the idea that whilst Ophelia was drowning she was beautiful and unalarmed at the water surrounding her. The audience can not word for word trust Gertrude’s description of Ophelia’s death, because in previous scenes, Gertrude has not been so kind to, or so fond of Ophelia. Op... ... middle of paper ... ...ake into account, but that The Drowning of Ophelia put into perspective, is that the serenity surrounding Ophelia’s death could signify her finally being at peace; by dying, she is no longer subject to the pain of her own mind. When I saw the painting it almost identically matched what I visualized when reading Act IV, Scene vii of Hamlet. That, in part, is a reason I chose The Drowning of Ophelia, but also because Simmonds’ painting evoked the strongest emotional reaction from me. Ophelia resembles an angel in Simmonds’ painting, which made her death bittersweet, for she is no longer suffering, but there is this undertone of pain surrounding her death, not given off by her, but by the absence of her. When I look at Ophelia represented so eloquently, it brings to light how emotionally devastating it will be for everyone to cope with the death of an angel.
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