Monday, March 8, 2010
From the Water's Depth
There is always something of death in these kinds of pictures. Inland waters conjure up a melancholy all of their own, despite the surrounding of colourful foliage and their limpid blue reflections. I cannot think of any other than Ophelia when I see the photograph, perhaps because the long lens lends it this strange look. Perhaps strangeness in nature reminds me of Ophelia. Ophelia's narcissistic ritual of creating fantastic garlands - did it sponsor or merely modify the manner of her demise? Poor wretch, she was dragged dead from the mirror of the brook where symbol and reality merge. Shakespeare is suggesting that Ophelia's odd behaviour is unconscious. The real, the imaginary and the symbolic are here welded into one. Nothing is known unless it is dragged, screaming and kicking from unconsciousness, just as Ophelia is pulled from her watery grave. Being in the grip of an archetype as was Ophelia, is a bit like the image suggests. Making sense of it is difficult and it is hard to tell which way is up. Following Hamlet's rage at Ophelia's grave, he becomes a trifle more aware and for a while it looks like he is the only one that knows what's going on. For a while that is. What speaks from the water's depth speaks from the unconscious.