Ophelia was a bride of God
A novice Carmelite
In sister cells
The cloister bells tolled on her wedding night

Ophelia was the rebel girl
A blue stocking suffragette
Who remedied society between her cigarettes
And Ophelia was the sweetheart

To a nation overnight
Curvaceous thighs
Vivacious eyes
Love was at first sight

Love was at first sight
Ophelia was a demigoddess in pre war Babylon
So statuesque a silhouette in black satin evening gowns
Ophelia was the mistress

To a Vegas gambling man
Signora Ophelia Maraschina
Mafia courtesan
Ophelia was the circus queen

The female cannonball
Projected through five flaming hoops
To wild and shocked applause
To wild and shocked applause

Ophelia was a tempest cyclone
A goddamn hurricane
Your common sense, your best defense
Lay wasted and in vain

For Ophelia'd know your every woe
And every pain you'd ever had
She'd sympathize and dry your eyes
And help you to forget

Help you to forget
And help you to forget
Ophelia's mind went wandering
You'd wonder where she'd gone

Through secret doors down corridors
She wanders them alone
All alone
fade to different spoken languages


Lyrics submitted by kevin

Ophelia Lyrics as written by Natalie A Merchant

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Ophelia song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +5
    General Commentwell it's long since the comments were posted but let me have a go here...

    Words have a tendency to provoke feelings and mental images. In this case the word is a name associated with Shakespeare's Hamlet. Any three syllable name works for the rhyme and rhythm, but Ophelia provokes a feeling that Jennifer, Ann-Marie, or (to use another of Shakespeare's women) Juliet cannot.

    On a comparative note, Ophelia and Juliet faced the same dilemma: they loved a man they shouldn't. Juliet disobeyed her duty to her father and followed her heart, Ophelia set aside her heart to follow the advice and direction of her brother and father. They both chose different paths, but their choice cost them their life.

    The reason Juliet does not provoke the same sense of sadness the Ophelia can is that Juliet takes her own life, Ophelia is driven to madness and abandoned.

    However, the song really has nothing to do with Shakespeare's Ophelia other than the sadness the name evokes.

    The ophelia the song names in each verse are all different women. Each a different person and different personality. Good, bad, kind, cutting, virtuous, a whore. But they are all women.

    From a feminist perspective, they cannot be judged simply as women, because they are first and foremost, people. The person they are is not determined by their gender, but rather by the person they are.

    That the music begins in sadness and is very pastoral... but changes during the break to give the Ophelia's she describes more depth than the Virginal Madonna figure we begin with which tends to be the romantic ideal.

    That's my nickel

    This sets the tone for the people the song describes... different people
    chesterfieldon September 07, 2006   Link

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