Log24

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Saturday December 21, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

To Ophelia
at the Winter Solstice

Introduction

“There is one story and one story only
That will prove worth your telling…

… is it of the Virgin’s silver beauty,
All fish below the thighs?
She in her left hand bears a leafy quince;
When, with her right hand she crooks a finger, smiling,
How many the King hold back?
Royally then he barters life for love.

Or of the undying snake from chaos hatched,
Whose coils contain the ocean,
Into whose chops with naked sword he springs,
Then in black water, tangled by the reeds,
Battles three days and nights,
To be spewed up beside her scalloped shore?”

— Robert Graves, “To Juan at the Winter Solstice”

Illustrations

The Virgin’s Beauty 

 On the Beach

A Maiden’s Prayer

Answered Prayer

Dialogue

Act III Scene ii:

Hamlet   Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia  No, my lord.
Hamlet   I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ophelia  Ay, my lord.
Hamlet   Do you think I meant country matters?
Ophelia  I think nothing, my lord.
Hamlet   That’s a fair thought to lie between maid’s legs.
Ophelia   What is, my lord?
Hamlet    Nothing.
Ophelia   You are merry, my lord.  
Hamlet    Who, I?
Ophelia   Ay, my lord.

Quotations

“Do you know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember nothing?” 
— T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”

“At the still point, there the dance is.” 
— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

“I know what ‘nothing’ means….”
— Maria Wyeth in Play It As It Lays

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
— Oscar Hammerstein II

“…problems can be solved by manipulating just two symbols, 1 and 0….” 
— George Johnson, obituary of Claude Shannon

“The female and the male continue this charming dance, populating the world with all living beings.” 
— Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess,
    Penguin Arkana paperback, 1999, Chapter 17,
    “Lingam/Yoni” 

“According to Showalter’s essay*, ‘In Elizabethan slang, ‘nothing’ was a term for the female genitalia . . . what lies between maids’ legs, for, in the male visual system of representation and desire…. Ophelia’s story becomes the Story of O — the zero, the empty circle or mystery of feminine difference, the cipher of female sexuality to be deciphered by feminist interpretation.’ (222)* Ophelia is a highly sexual being…”

— Leigh DiAngelo,
   Ophelia as a Sexual Being

S. H. Cullinane: “No shit, Sherlock.”

*Showalter, Elaine. “Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism.” Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Boston: Bedford Books of St.Martin’s Press, 1994. 220-238.

Dénouement

Is that nothing between your legs
or are you just happy to see me?


See also The Ya-Ya Monologues.

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