Cultural references to Ophelia
- Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, in the first chapter of his 1880 novel 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." Dostoevksy also depicts the heroine Grushenka as Ophelia, binding the two through the words "Woe is me!" in the chapter titled "The First Torment".
- Ophelia's Revenge (2003), a young adult novel by Rebecca Reisert, is a retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view.
- Dating Hamlet (2002), by Lisa Fiedler, tells a version of Ophelia's story.
- Agatha Christie's characters refers to Ophelia in the novels After the Funeral (1953), Third Girl (1966) and Nemesis (1971)
- In Jasper Fforde's novel Something Rotten (2004) Ophelia tries to take over the play during Hamlet's excursion to the real world.
- Ophelia by Lisa Klein tells the story of Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view.
- In Paul Griffiths' novel let me tell you (2008) Ophelia tells a narrative using only her words from Hamlet, rearranged. The novel has been adapted as music by Hans Abrahamsen.
- 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.
- In 2011 the Department of Theatre and Performance at the Victoria and Albert Museum invited director Katie Mitchell and Leo Warner of 59 Productions to conceive and produce a video installation exploring the nature of 'truth in performance'. Taking as its inspiration 5 of the most influential European theatre directors of the last century, the project examines how each of the practitioners would direct the actress playing Ophelia in the famous 'mad' scenes in the play. This multiscreen video installation, launched at the Chantiers Europe festival at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris on 4 June, and opened at the museum on 12 July 2011.
Film and television
- Sons of Anarchy included several paralells to Hamlet, including Ophelia influencing the characters Tara Knowles and Opie Winston.
- In the Simpsons episode "Tales from the Public Domain", the story of Hamlet is retold using Simpsons characters. The role of Ophelia is taken by Lisa who, upon seeing Hamlet (Bart) talking to a picture of his deceased father (Homer), claims "Nobody out-crazies Ophelia!" She then backs up her claim by jumping on a table, stepping in people's food and kicking over flowers before finally cartwheeling out a nearby window and into the moat, presumably to her death.
- In the opening montage of the 2011 film Melancholia, Kirsten Dunst's character is shown in her wedding dress, floating face up in a stream, similar to John Everett Millais' painting of Ophelia.
- In the 2005 film The Libertine, Samantha Morton portrays aspirant actress Elizabeth Barry, who portrays Ophelia, and brings the house down.
- In The Addams Family, Morticia's sister is named Ophelia: both sisters are played by Carolyn Jones. Ophelia is depicted with flowers in her hair, and often carrying flowers, alluding to the play.
- In the second episode of the television series Desperate Romantics, Elizabeth Siddal poses for John Everett Millais' Ophelia painting.
- In the 1986 film Fire with Fire, Virginia Madsen plays a Catholic schoolgirl enthralled with John Everett Millais' depiction of Ophelia which she saw in school. She later recreated the scene for a photography project and took pictures of herself immersed in a pond.
- In the 2012 film Savages it is mentioned that the character "O" goes by "O" because she is named after Ophelia, "the bipolar chick who killed herself in Hamlet."
- In the 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth, Ofelia, the main character, alludes to the play.
- The 2013 anime Blast of Tempest has many Shakespearean elements, including references to Ophelia.
- In Queen and Country (2014) the protagonist nick-names his mentally unstable girl-friend Ophelia.
- Hector Berlioz made Hamlet the subject of his composition: Tristia, and titled one movement "The Death of Ophelia".
- Frank Bridge wrote a symphonic poem for orchestra titled 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 titled "Ophelia's Song", which depicts her descent into madness.
- In The Grateful Dead song "Althea" lyricist Robert Hunter references Hamlet in a near-quote from the famous soliloquy: "To be or not to be...To sleep, perchance to dream," The line in the song reads, "Yours may be the fate of Ophelia, sleeping and perchance to dream."
- Natalie Merchant recorded a song and an album called Ophelia, inspired by the play.
- Emilie Autumn has a song and album titled Opheliac in which the singer compares herself to Ophelia, connecting to her own experiences with bipolar disorder.
- Jewel has a song titled "Innocence Maintained" from her album Spirit (1998) with the lyrics "Ophelia drowned in the water, crushed by her own weight".
- Indigo Girls recorded an album called Swamp Ophelia, placing Ophelia in the Deep South.
- British pop singer Toyah Willcox released an album and song titled Ophelia's Shadow, focussing on Ophelia's isolation.
- Melora Creager of Rasputina recorded a song titled "Dig Ophelia" for the album Thanks for the Ether. The song "speaks for and with her".
- Tori Amos recorded a song titled "Ophelia" for the album Abnormally Attracted to Sin, perhaps inspired by Shakespeare's Ophelia.
- British band Wild Beasts' song "Bed of Nails", the second track of Smother, combine Ophelia and Hamlet with the work of Mary Shelley.
- Italian singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini recorded a song titled "Ophelia" for the album Due anni dopo.
- American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan includes Ophelia as one of the characters residing on Desolation Row in the song of the same title from the album Highway 61, recorded in 1965.
- The steampunk band Abney Park recorded a song called "Dear Ophelia" that is sung from the point of Hamlet, writing letters to Ophelia expressing that he does, in fact, love her.
- The Band recorded a song titled "Ophelia" for the album Northern Lights – Southern Cross, in which Ophelia is a metaphor for race-mixing.
- French singer-songwriter Nolwenn Leroy recorded a song titled "Ophélia" for her 2012 album Ô Filles de l'eau.
- American singer-songwriter Zella Day recorded a song titled "Sweet Ophelia" for her 2014 album Zella Day – EP.
- The single titled "Ophelia" was released by The Lumineers on February 4, 2016 ahead of the release of their second album Cleopatra which was released on April 8, 2016.
- The video to the song "Where the Wild Roses Grow" by Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave is based on Ophelia by John Everett Millais.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ophelia.|
John William Waterhouse
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