References to Ophelia
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- Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, in the first chapter of his 1880 masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov, described a capricious young woman who committed suicide by throwing herself off a steep cliff into a river, simply to imitate Shakespeare's Ophelia. Dostoevsky concludes that "Even then, if the cliff, chosen and cherished from long ago, had not been so picturesque, if it had been merely a flat, prosaic bank, the suicide might not have taken place at all."
- Further, in The Brothers Karamazov Dostoevksy depicts the heroine Grushenka as Ophelia, binding the two through the words 'Woe is me!' in the chapter entitled 'The First Torment.' Like Hamlet, Dimitri Karamazov treads through lies and deception to uncover the murder of his father. Ophelia, or Grushenka in the Brothers Karamazov, is loyal, tragically loyal, to the end.
- Ophelia's Revenge, a novel by Rebecca Reisert, is a retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view.
- Dating Hamlet, a novel by Lisa Fiedler, tells Ophelia's side of the play's story.
- Ophelia is the name of a "desiring-machine" in Yury Olesha's 1927 novel Envy. Invented by Ivan Babichev, the machine "sings our love songs now, stupid love songs of the old age, and gathers flowers of the old age. It falls in love, is jealous, cries, has dreams..."
- In Anne Rice's novel Blackwood Farm Mona Mayfair says that she wishes to die like Ophelia on a bed of flowers.
- In Agatha Christie's novel Nemesis the protagonist, Miss Marple, continuously compares one of the suspects in the murder to Ophelia.
- Justine Ettler's novel The River Ophelia Ophelia is a supporting character, owner of a local brothel, who supports Justine through a difficult time, but is also struggling with her own demons.
- Ophelia's Ghost, a novel by Gary Lee Entsminger and Susan Elizabeth Elliott, 2008, is set in 1958 in the Four Corners (CO, NM, UT, AZ) and uses Hamlet to investigate our belief systems. Did Hamlet, Horatio, et al. see a ghost? What does it mean to say you've seen a ghost? And where is Ophelia in this adventure?
In "Indiana" by George Sand, the title character's dog, Ophelia, is shown in several scenes and is murdered by a crew member at sea.
- Mary Pipher alluded to Ophelia in the title of her nonfiction book Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. The book puts forth the thesis that modern American teenage girls are victimized, lost, and unsure of themselves, like Ophelia.
- Playwright Don Nigro explains Ophelia's madness in a first-person narrative by her in his 10 minute play Dead Men's Fingers.
- The play "Ophelia" by Tatiana Akhtman in 2000 gives a new slant on Shakespeare’s characters.
In film and television
- Ophelia is the name of a character in the film Trading Places who says "I know, Hamlet's girlfriend. She goes crazy, she kills herself—this isn't Shakespeare, Louie. "
- Ophelia (in Spanish, Ofelia) is the protagonist in the film Pan's Labyrinth who is a bookish, imaginative girl stuck in a cruel military outpost.
- An episode of the 2006 anime series Ergo Proxy pays homage to John Everett Millais' painting Ophelia. The main female character is shown in the same position as the girl in the painting. The episode is even titled Ophelia.
- In the 2005 feature film The Libertine, Samantha Morton portrays aspirant actress Elizabeth Barry, who portrays Ophelia, and brings the house down.
- Ophelia is the name of a character in Claymore (anime/manga). She seems to be insane and is portrayed in a way to evoke feelings of disgust. She is slain by the protagonist, Claire, and dies naked, sinking to the bottom of a lake.
- In SLC PUNK Steve-O referes to Jen as "looking like Ophelia" when she is off her medication.
- Ophelia is a major character in the popular T.V. show The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.
- In Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith Padme Amidala Skywalker is buried in an outfit made up of blue fabrics and flowers in her hair thought to be a reference to Ophelia as being someone who died after her heart was broken
- Ophelia Addams is the sister of Morticia Addams, in The Addams Family, played by Carolyn Jones, who also played Morticia. Ophelia is depicted with flowers in her hair, and often carrying flowers, but is overly physically aggressive.
- The character Cassie Ainsworth from the British teen drama, Skins, has been compared to Ophelia. In series 2 of the show, a scene which did not make the final draft was that of Cassie lying in a bath full of flowers to resemble the painting of Ophelia.
- In the second episode of the six part television series "Desperate Romantics" (a drama-documentary/Period Drama on the lives of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) we see Actress Amy Manson posing as Ophelia. In the episode she is acting as Elizabeth Sidal, who was a model for the one of the brotherhood's founding members John Everett Millais who created the well known painting, "Ophelia (painting)".
- The poet Gogi James writes of a "Zombie Ophelia" who wanders the streets of New York City, still seeking love from her black velvet-clad Hamlet.
- French poet Arthur Rimbaud wrote a long poem on Ophelia (Ophélie), likely inspired by a reproduction of the Waterhouse painting.
- T. S. Eliot alludes to her final words in his poem The Waste Land at the end of 'A Game of Chess' (line 172... "good night, ladies, good night sweet ladies, good night, good night.") Ophelia's death (like many other Shakespearian, contemporary and classical allusions in the poem) resonates throughout; for example, one section is titled 'Death by Water'.
- Richard Brautigan's poem "The Rape of Ophelia" tells a story which claims Ophelia died due to rape, not drowning, as was assumed.
- Hector Berlioz made Ophelia the subject of his composition: Tristia, and titled one movement "The Death of Ophelia."
- Frank Bridge wrote a symphonic poem for orchestra entitled There is a willow grows aslant a brook, taken from the first line of Gertrude's monologue recounting Ophelia's death.
- Dmitri Shostakovich's Incidental Music to Hamlet features a movement entitled Ophelia's Song, which depicts her descent into madness.
- Ophelia is referenced by Natalie Merchant in her song, "Ophelia" on the album of the same title.
- Emilie Autumn has a song and album called Opheliac in which the singer compares herself to Ophelia, which references the famous "Doubt thou the stars are fire..." lines from Hamlet. Emilie Autumn also has several other songs including Ophelia/Hamlet references.
- Indigo Girls have an album called Swamp Ophelia.
- Japanese musician Kaya's latest album, released on July 22, 2009 is named "Ophelia", which includes a song with the same name.
- British Pop Singer Toyah Willcox released an album entitled Ophelia's Shadow and features a track of the same name.
- Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave based the music video for their single "Where the Wild Roses Grow" on the painting by Millais.
- Stephen Duffy references Ophelia in his song "In The Evening Of Her Day" - In the evening of her day / Ophelia comes to court me / Not that I could stay away / Her kisses seem to haunt me.
- The Band wrote a song titled "Ophelia", though the song was named after Minnie Pearl (Ophelia was her real name), according to drummer Levon Helm.
- Michale Graves sings about her in his song "Ophelia"
- The Grateful Dead incorporate Shakespeare's words in their song "Althea": "Yours may be the fate of Ophelia / Sleepin' and perchance, to dream."
- Kevin Hewick released "Ophelia's Drinking Song" as a single on Factory Records in 1981 (FAC 48)
- Ambulance LTD has a song called "Ophelia".
- L'Arc~en~Ciel (a popular Japanese band) has a song called "Ophelia".
- Lord Vampyr has a song called "The Ophelia's Ghost".
- Jewel references Ophelia in the song "Innocence Maintained:" Ophelia drowned in the water/Crushed by her own weight
- David Usher wrote the song "Ophelia" on the Creature album, which can be interpreted as Hamlet's complaint.
- The Shroud wrote the song "Ophelia" for their 1992 album Drowning Dreams.
- Abney Park wrote the song "Dear Ophelia" for their 2005 album The Death of Tragedy.
- Danish band Kashmir features the song "Ophelia" on their No Balance Palace album from 2005. As in the Shakespeare play, this Ophelia finds answers in inexplicable in insanity.
- Darling Violetta's song Ophelia refers to the character's suicide in the lines the water is quiet, and calm, makes me feel like I am home.
- Natalie Merchant has a song about Ophelia being "a child of a stripping sheep".
- Tom Waits, in the song "Who Are You?", refers to his lover as Ophelia. Now Ophelia wants to know, Where she should turn, Tell me...what did you do, What did you do the last time?, Why don't you do that?
- The Tea Party's song "Silence" (on The Edges of Twilight album) refers to Ophelia's fate with the following lyrics: And lie in the bed you've made Ophelia...dry are the lips that lost their taste of love...drown in the waters that would give you life...cry as this lamentation thrusts its knife.
- In Ergo Proxy's OPUS TWO soundtrack, track number 10 is named "Ophelia", referring to a similar situation the main character went through.
- Bethany Joy Galeotti (formerly Bethany Joy Lenz / Joie Lenz) wrote and sang a song called "Ophelia". The track was released on her official website.
- "L'eau Des Mauves" on Collection d'Arnell Andrea's Exposition, Eaux-Fortes et Méandres was inspired by John Everett Millais's painting Ophelia.
- There is a willow grows aslant a brook, a symphonic poem by Frank Bridge, based on the speech of Queen Gertrude about the death of Ophelia.
- Lou Reed's song "Goodnight Ladies", from his 1972 album Transformer, uses a line from Ophelia's mad speech (Act 4, Scene 5) as its chorus. In the song Hang on to Your Emotions from the Set the Twilight Reeling album, he refers to Ophelia and Hamlet (and also, perhaps mistakenly, to Desdemona).
- Rasputina's song "Dig Ophelia" from the debut album Thanks for the Ether also references the death of Ophelia.
- Your Forgotten Love has a song entitled "Her Fair Judgment", with lyrics rearranged from Ophelia's mad speech.
- Emilie Autumn has a song entitled "Opheliac" wherein the chorus references the drowning. The whole album Opheliac is referring to Ophelia. She used a part of Hamlet's love letter in the song Opheliac. The song Best Safety Lies In Fear is also a part of Hamlet, Act I; Scene III
- Heinz Rudolf Kunze's song "Ophelia" (German; from the album "Halt") describes Ophelia's supposed mood and motivations before her suicide. Ophelia is depicted as a strong "Queen", trying to prevent Hamlet from going mad.
- MC Lars has a song entitled "Hey There Ophelia".
- Corinna Fugate has a song called "Undertow" where Ophelia is heavily referenced.
- Rachael Yamagata's song "Paper Doll" refers to Ophelia's fate and specially to her last scene, when she bids everyone goodnight. (Like Ophelia, you wave goodnight and down in dirty water's no place for a paper doll)
- Rufus Wainwright mentions Ophelia in reference to Jeff Buckley's performance of Hallelujah, in the song Memphis Skyline (then came hallelujah, sounding like mad ophelia for me in my room living...).
- Tori Amos has a song entitled "Ophelia".
- The band Hole used a painting of Ophelia drowning by Paul Albert Steck as the back cover for their final album Celebrity Skin. The song "Petals" from that album has lines that refer to Ophelia.
- The cover picture of PJ Harvey's album To Bring You My Love is due to the character's drowning scene.
In computer games
- In the Capcom game Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, Ophelia was depicted as the demonic priestess of the genma/demon's legion, one of the core member of Genma Triumvirate.
- StarCraft, created by Blizzard Entertainment uses Ophelia as the name of a cheat code to skip levels.
- The Sims 2: Ophelia is a Sim in a town named Strangetown. In Veronaville there are other numerous Shakespearean characters such as Romeo and Juliet displayed as Sims.
- In Savage: The battle for Newerth Ophelia is the queen of the beast horde
- In Brütal Legend Ophelia is a main character who drowns herself due to grief.
- Uranus's secondmost inner moon was also named after Ophelia after being discovered by Voyager 2 in 1986 , and is one of the smallest moons in the solar system (with a diameter of only 16 km).
In other mediums
- In the webcomic Irregular Webcomic! by David Morgan-Mar, Ophelia appears as Will's put upon but patient office co-worker.