Ophelia, Doll Parts Floating in Salt Marsh

This bit of a discarded doll, floating amid the reeds in a salt marsh…

Reminded me of Shakespeare’s description of drowned Ophelia:

“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.”

Never mind that Gertrude (who spoke these lines) should have saved her, constituting just one of many anomalies in Hamlet. The lines have inspired countless subsequent works of art, from Pre-Raphaelite painting to a poem by Arthur Rimbaud…

So why not Your Humble Servant too? Here, then, is my little contribution to Stuff About Ophelia. Many Doll collectors come to view their charges as Little People, and it seems to me that whomever trashed this hand-painted poppet was, perhaps inadvertently, reenacting Hamlet’s careless cruelty to Ophelia.


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