In Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
, Ophelia is the daughter of the Lord Chamberlain, Polonius
, sister of Laertes and lover or muse or something to Hamlet. For a while.
As Laertes returns from France, he learns the sad details surrounding the deaths of his good father and his beloved sister. Queen Gertrude chooses her words with such precision that Ophelia's fate becomes almost acceptable in act iv, scene 7:
- Gertrude: 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.
- Laertes: Alas, then, she is drown'd?
- Gertrude: Drown'd, drown'd.
Painting by W.G. Simmons, 1910.
- --oOo-- -