Stephen Zucker: We're in the Tate Britain, and we're looking at John Everett Millais' Ophelia. This is the quintessential Victorian and quintessential Pre-Raphaelite painting.
Beth Harris: It is, and the Victorians painted Shakespeare quite a lot. And they even painted Ophelia quite a lot. But this is the painting that everybody remembers. Zucker: It's that moment after Hamlet has murdered Ophelia's father, and she has let herself fall into this river and is letting herself drown.
Harris: Well, she goes mad after Hamlet murders her father and allows herself to drown. And Shakespeare describes the place where that happens. And he describes the flowers and the willow tree, and Millais picks up on that interest in the botanical setting and expands on it.
Zucker: Well, the botanical specificity, this is an artist who's... (Video transcript: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/becoming-modern/victorian-art-architecture/pre-raphaelites/v/sir-john-everett-millais-ophelia-1851-52
shakespeareenglandopheliaoil on canvaspre-raphaelite