Thursday, September 9, 2010

Magpie 31

Ophelia, singing: “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime…

And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.”
Now, why would Ophelia sing such a song? It wasn’t Valentine’s day – what she sang made no sense.

In the play “Hamlet,” beautiful Ophelia is portrayed in the early scenes as a demure and dutiful daughter, but she suffers one traumatic event after another. Prince Hamlet, the man she loves, brutally rejects her, and she later learns that her beloved father has been killed by that very man. It is all too much for her – she goes insane.
The sequence of Ophelia’s madness is one of the most powerfully dramatic scenes Shakespeare ever wrote.

Quiet, demure Ophelia, now totally disheveled, comes before the King and Queen, who are horrified at what they see. Babbling, speaking nonsense – “They say the owl was a baker’s daughter” – Ophelia also sings some, for her, indecent ditties:
“Then up he rose and donn’d his clothes
And op’d the chamber door.
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
Quoth she, ‘Before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.’”

Later, Ophelia dies by drowning – was it suicide? When the body is made ready for burial, her loving brother says:
“Lay her in the earth
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring!”

39 comments:

Deborah said...

Just wonderful!

annell said...

Very interesting......Thanks....

Abhilasha-The Desire said...

A shakespear flavour is quite awesome in your posts.. never to be forgotten.but what tragedy
:(
Nice magpie anyhow !!!

Kristen Haskell said...

Surprising - love how you combine this tale with the Magpie.

Linda said...

Interesting, indeed. Your tales always surprise me.

Tumblewords: said...

Nice Magpie!

Lydia said...

You are a marvelous teacher. I so enjoyed this lesson!

Berowne said...

Deborah: "Just wonderful!"
What a great comment -- thanks.

Berowne said...

Great to hear from annell, Abhilasha, Kristen, Linda, Tumblewords and Lydia, with such encouraging comments.

jabblog said...

We all speak nonsense at times, but when the mind is unhinged all is gibberish.
I enjoyed this post.

Berowne said...

jabblog: "I enjoyed this post."
I enjoyed this comment. :-)

willow said...

Love this Magpie! Kate Winslet is a wonderful Ophelia in Branagh's film version. And you forgot my particular favorite, Odilon Redon's Ophelia!

brigid said...

Great post, isnt that quote from her brother one of the saddest but most beautiful of all?

Sender D. said...

Interesting Magpie to be sure. Nice write. Bisous, Love and Light, Sender

kathew said...

Poor Ophelia... Thanks for yet another Shakespeare lesson...I enjoyed this post!

Berowne said...

willow: "Love this Magpie!"
Thanks, willow. Folks seem to like these little Shakespeare posts. Maybe I could do a few more?

Carrie Burtt said...

Berowne you always impress me with your skill at putting together the Magpie prompt with Shakespeare! This is truly awesome! :-)

Berowne said...

Carrie Burtt: "This is truly awesome!"
Awesome comment, Carrie -- thanks.

Jeanne said...

"...So would I ha' done
By yonder sun
And thou hads't not come to my bed."

(Was it "hads't"? That's how I remember it. I played Ophelia in a high school production many (many) years ago. I still remember the melody.)

Thanks for a reminding me!

Brian Miller said...

i have not learned this much shakespeare wince high school. smiles...

Berowne said...

Jeanne: "(Was it "hads't"? That's how I remember it.)"
"Hadst" is correct. Thanks for the comment.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

Oh that crazy love..that blasted, crazy delicious love...

brings you under while violets and french curlicues fill your head

Rene

Berowne said...

A powerful comment; thanks, Rene.
(Shouldn't it be "Renee"? :-)

Everyday Goddess said...

I have felt like Ophelia a few times in my life, but I know I won't ever again.

My mag will be up Sunday, just in time for church.

signed...bkm said...

poor ophelia...love will make you insane...may she rest under her sweet violets...bkm

Maya said...

loved the pictures... and the way they are woven into your tale... i could actually picture the whole thing!

ninotaziz said...

I always loved this paainting of Ophelia by Waterhouse. I often imagine Sir Edward Burne-Jones would have painted aa lovely Ophelia too.

As for the tragedy of Ophelia, I 'hate' Shakespeare for torturing such a lovely character so.

Berowne said...

Maya: "loved the pictures... and the way they are woven into your tale."
Thanks, Maya.

Berowne said...

Everyday Goddess: "My mag will be up Sunday, just in time for church."
I thought a goddess would have her own church. :-)

Deels said...

What a lovely link to this Magpie. Ophelia was always one of my favourite female Shakespearean characters. Madness gave her the freedom to say what first came to her head. Love the Pre-Raphaelite touch.

Berowne said...

Deels: "What a lovely link to this Magpie."
What a lovely response to this link. :-)

Pearl said...

Any time I come here, I learn something.

I gotta be more careful.

:-)

Pearl

Derrick said...

A clever interpretation from the photograph - and I keep learning new bits of Shakespeare!

Berowne said...

Pearl: "Any time I come here, I learn something."
And any time you come here, I learn something -- about you. Something good.:-)

Berowne said...

Good to hear from you, Derrick. Thanks

chiccoreal said...

Dear Berowne: Didn't Anne of Green Gables have a certain crush on Ophelia? Definitely she has the unrequitted love thing happening. Hamlet, the insensitive jerk! Ophelia's madness totally preventable. But that doesn't make for drama does it?

spacedlaw said...

I often wonder what her reaction had been if he had not rejected her but still killed her father.
(would have she had the nerves of Chimene?)

Berowne said...

spacedlaw: "(would have she had the nerves of Chimene?)"
Your comment took me back quite a few years to my study of "Le Cid." I can still recite a passage or two -- thanks.

Karen S said...

I loved Ophelia. She was my favorite character in all of the tragedies I had to read that semester (why do they never cover the comedies in those classes?). I also love what you've done to her.

 
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