In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the daughter of lord chamberlain Polonius, sister of Laertes, and Hamlet's sort-of girlfriend. Doesn't have much self on her own.

After the death of her father Polonius at the hands of her ex-lover Hamlet, who had just recently been very nasty to her, she went mad and later drowned. Her funeral lacked much of the proper ceremony because it was not known if she had commited suicide.

Song:

(To the tune of Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia, with profound apologies:)

Ophelia, you're out of your mind
To put up with such abuse daily
Whoa, Ophelia, I just can't believe
You let those cruel men treat you so (wo, wo, wo)

Well, your dad is Polonius
And we all know what a jerk he is (jerk he is)
Using you for his purposes
Till you end up a pawn in the king's evil plan

Ophelia, they're breaking your heart
Your dad and that heartless cad Hamlet
Whoa, Ophelia, you can't take much more
But when will you snap? I'm not sure... I'm not sure.

You've gone nuts, now you sing and dance
Through the castle, giving people plants (giving plants!)
When your boyfriend killed your dad,
What else could you do but go stark raving mad?

Background Story:

I wrote this parody towards the end of my senior year of high school, when my AP English Language class studied Hamlet. The last verse came to me in a fit of inspiration, and it was all downhill from that point on. The story would end there, except we were assigned group creative projects as a unit-concluding activity.

A few friends and I decided that most of the inhabitants of Castle Elsinore (in particular, Hamlet, Ophelia, and Laertes) could've used some pretty serious therapy---and what could be more therapeutic than a talk show appearance? So inspired, in a few short hours we'd put together a little play.

This was all before the advent of Jerry Springer's notoriety for profanity and violence, or we'd've had a lot more of that. As it was, I think our Ophelia still would've ended up reciting Columbia's monologue from The Rocky Horror Picture Show ("All you do is take, take, take..."), and it would've all degenerated into a musical sooner or later, with this little number as its grand finale.

Turns out my English teacher loves musicals. So much so that another group presenting two days later knew a great opportunity when they saw one, and rewrote their project to great effect:

"Psycho Killer, Prince of Denmark
fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away"

The moral of the story: musicals are funny, parody musicals doubly so.

Epilogue:

Years later, I'm still trying to write a final verse: something to the tune of the chorus, about Ophelia's death by drowning. I haven't been too successful, so I hereby extend an invitation to E2's collective morbid sense of humor: help me finish "Ophelia", and I'll post y/our final verse here along with a suitable statement of eternal gratitude.

Also a painting by John Everett Millais.

It has Ophelia floating down a lovely, flower-dotted stream, singing in her madness, oblivious of tragedy. It is certainly a romanticised and sanitized view of Ophelia, to the extent that one questions whether Millais was familiar with the text (Hamlet) at all. If he was indeed intimate with the true account of Ophelia then one can only assume he consciously chose to disregard the facts, for there is no mud, and Ophelia appears to swim, to float. This is conflicting with Gertrude’s account that she fell in the brook. Ophelia’s face in this piece seems unsuitable; her expression does not at all suggest the misery she has seen in her lifetime. One presumes by this that Millais intended to imply that Ophelia withdrew so deeply into her madness that she lies unmindful of her doom, frozen and impassive. Ophelia takes on a rather angelic appearance, not at all evocative of the ill girl she was portrayed to be in the play.

The excessive forest details in the background overpower Ophelia, reducing her torment to just another part of the scene. The water is still and promotes the air of tranquility. It is as though Ophelia was gently placed in the water rather than the reality of the situation, which was that Ophelia was supposedly torn from the banks unsuspectingly into a merciless river. It seems as though the artist carefully selected and paint his flowers and flora so that most of them are identifiable. Dozens of flowers and plants are depicted and it also appears that Millais deliberately selected some with intentions of utilising their symbolic meaning. For instance, poppies signify sleep and death. Violets signify death in youth and forgetfulness. Daisies signify innocence. In Act IV Ophelia refers to some of the flowers that wound up being illustrated by Millais.

Millais’ impression of Ophelia is certainly a very euphemised one. I feel that a more appropriate painting would show the torment of Ophelia. It is true that her character might have possessed an innocence, an angelic purity. I feel however that these have no reason to manifest themselves in a painting depicting her death when the tragedies which took place, the miseries she endured or witnessed, erased all trace of her simplicity and girlish incorruptibility. They left her a tangle of madness, a victim of the disease that had been spread so widely. I feel that the painting should have shown a violence, a muckiness. The flowers should not have been so pretty, and if they were, it would have been in direct contrast with the mess that became of the poor Ophelia.

more noding of homework

by William Shiloh Danan

She dances through my dreams,
Weighed down by the grievous moments of day and night,
Spinning on battlements, the shadow of her angel
Long since withering.

Along the banks of her gossamer madness,
I am poised in infallible hallowness,
Sainted by the blessing of intention
To pluck her from every watery procession.

Her garments plead
With the heaviness of my drink.
"Pray Love, Remember"

She lays in her mumbled sacraments,
Torn maidenheads fluttering in garlands of mockery.
Slipping from naked lips, her bitter gifts dropping
In sighed, sweet song.

And I, the long cloaked savior,
Haunt all the courtyards
Where she might be singing
Clutching at fingers too soon whetted and pruned.

Her rosemary blooms
In every bower I pervade
"Pray Love, Remember"

There's a willow aslant a brook
Where every snatch of old tunes
Is sung by my heart from her drowning mask.

There is stone and slipper
Where her distraction shall reveal
My betrothal to her fall.

And on either side of this tumbled grace,
I hover to bait release.

For I court Delirium
In brides that hang between.
So, "Pray Love, Remember"

Posted with gracious permission of William Danan...I just had to add this message from him...

I'm sure you know, as a writer, how you slave and sweat over one child, while another pops out almost unnoticed. And it is, invariably, that child, the one that stands looking at you while you herniate your hand and heart over another, who attains the notice... and invariably the troublesome birth that fades...

Discovered by            R. Terrile
Date of Discovery        1986
Distance from Uranus     53,790 km
Radius                   15 km
Mass                     ???
Orbital Eccentricity     0.0099
Orbital Inclination      0.10°
Orbital Period           0.376400 day
Rotational Period        ???
Density (gm/cm3)         ???

Ophelia is the outer shepherd moon for Uranus's epsilon ring and its second most distant. The behavior of this moon and it's partner, Cordelia, help support the theory of shepherding. Not much else is known about this tiny satellite other than it was discovered thanks to imagery from Voyager 2 taken at a distance of over four million kilometers.

It was named after Polonius's daughter in Hamlet.

Sources:
NASA.gov
space.com

Natalie Merchant's second solo album, Ophelia, was released in 1998. "Kind and Generous" was the only real hit off the album, though it is the least impressive track as far as lyrical or musical prowess is concerned. Ophelia begins with an low organ under Merchant's beautiful, melancholy voice and ends with a full orchestral reprise. The songs have a kind of nostalgic quality to them--romantic, almost--that makes you feel as though you're watching an ancient storybook come to life. While the tracks flow together brilliantly, their collection seems almost an anachronism; you feel at once a part of ancient dynasties, childhood memories and biblical phrophecy.

  1. Ophelia
  2. Life is Sweet
  3. Kind and Generous
  4. Frozen Charlotte
  5. My Skin
  6. Break Your Heart
  7. King of May
  8. Thick as Thieves
  9. Effigy
  10. The Living
  11. When They Ring the Golden Bells
  12. Ophelia (Reprise)

The title track tells the story of Hamlet's Ophelia, a universal feminine figure identifiable through the ages. Ophelia is every woman who has loved and suffered and felt herself slip away. She is a commentary on patriarchy and, more importantly, on the torment and anguish that women have endured.

Lyrics deleted for copyright concerns

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