"she was lying in the water"
Public DomainOphelia - Credit: Leopold Burthe

Caddy’s submersion in the river and her willingness to die at Quentin’s hand make this scene highly reminiscent of Shakespeare’s treatment of Ophelia in Hamlet. Having been rejected by the Danish prince, Ophelia is maddened by grief and, singing snatches of songs and clutching at flowers, drowns herself in a river. There’s also the uniting theme of unwanted pregnancy: rue, a powerful abortificant, is one of the herbs which she strews about her. 


Ophelia in the Thistles - model Sarah Bernhardt
Public DomainOphelia in the Thistles - model Sarah Bernhardt - Credit: Georges Jules Victor Clairin