Ophelia as archetype: Jake Heggie's Songs and sonnets to Ophelia

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth Frazer (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Carla LeFevre

Abstract: The character Ophelia has captured humanity's imagination for centuries. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, her role, although small, was instrumental as the title character's erstwhile girlfriend who goes mad. Ophelia remains relevant in modern culture, whether it be in Natalie Merchant's pop CD title Ophelia or in Jake Heggie's Songs and Sonnets to Ophelia. This paper demonstrates why a 21st century audience can still relate to and identify with Ophelia. The reader will learn why and how Ophelia's image has transformed over the last 400 years through a brief discussion of Carl Jung's archetypal theories, and examples of images of Ophelia in artwork since the 1700's. Further discussion will reveal how Jake Heggie, with his careful choice of poet and of poetry, and use of compositional techniques was able to personify the archetypes that Ophelia has represented through the centuries in his 1999 composition, Songs and Sonnets to Ophelia.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Archetype, Heggie, Jung, Millay, Ophelia
Heggie, Jake, $d 1961- $t Songs and sonnets to Ophelia
Archetype (Psychology) in literature
Ophelia (Fictitious character)
Shakespeare, William, $d 1564-1616 $x Characters $x Ophelia

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