|Ophelia, John Everett Millais|
It's really astounding how many tragic heroines die by water. You'd think there was a handbook or something. Elaine, Ophelia, Hero, Helle - their deaths are all intimately associated with water. Helle's is particularly egregious, as the only purpose she serves in her entire story is to fall off the Ram with the Golden Fleece while he's flying over an ocean. Her brother, also riding the Ram, survives to found a royal line, but his sister just drops into the sea like someone cued her. She exists to drown. I smell a thematic necessity.
|The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse|
|Hero, William Henry Rinehart|
|The Death of Dido, Peter Paul Rubens|
|Ophelia, Fernando Vazquez|
The water suicides make it too easy for us to take them, as we take their element, at surface value. Drama queens like Dido get all the attention, while the Ophelias and Elaines sit quietly by, holding their emotions in. But those emotions are still there. They ruffle the surface. And they offer some answers to the mysteries of these heroines.