John Millet took the plot from Hamlet as the basis for his film Ophelia: the girl, having learned about the death of her father at the hands of her lover, committed suicide. Here she is depicted precisely at the moment when she fell into the waters of the river. Her mouth is ajar: the girl sings woeful songs. She spread her arms to the sides, her eyes rest on the sky - because of this, many relate her pose to the crucified Christ.
Ophelia slowly plunges into the depths of the water amidst the magnificent colors of wildlife. In this case, the girl does not show fear or anxiety. It is as if she herself is striving to lose her life as soon as possible and is already ready to meet death.
The fame of this work of the English artist brought detail in the image of nature. Even painted plants act as certain symbols: buttercups are ingratitude; the willow that bent over the face of Ophelia - rejected love; nettle - pain; camomile is correlated with girlish innocence.
Roses floating on water, traditionally are a symbol of love; the meadowsweet that the artist placed in the corner of the picture is the meaninglessness of the whole situation, the death of a young girl; forget-me-nots that flooded the shores - fidelity; the scarlet adonis, passing by the hand, corresponds with grief; the pansies above the drowned woman’s dress are unrequited love.
The tones used by Millet in his painting are rich and very deep. Only the river is presented in the form of a dark mass, similar to a swamp. She, like a shroud, gently embraces the girl, plunging into her abyss.
It is interesting how the artist painted his work. At first, he created the background: sitting in nature, Millet painted the landscape for hours. Then he was transferred to the studio, where a specially invited model stayed for a long time in the pose of Ophelia in the bathroom, enduring the cold.