Ophelia’s Downfall


Meredith McDonough '22, Co-Editor of Austin Authors

What am I living for? Dear Polonius is dead. My beloved Hamlet is out of reach. I almost feel selfish breathing in the fresh air of this beautiful kingdom, when I should have been well on my way to an enclosed nunnery ages ago. Do I want to do this? It doesn’t matter. I need to do this. I cannot live with this debilitating pain any longer, and most importantly, it is essential that I am reunited with my father, wherever that may be.

Flowers and lily pads sitting atop the brook mask the unforgiving underwater branches and crawly creatures that call it home. The dark water can consume me in a heartbeat, but I don’t mind. You’re better off this way. 

I begin to immerse myself, only to be met with pure coldness. It is harsh and hostile. Ice is the only suitable comparison. Spring is on its way, though. Slowly but surely, Elsinore will bloom. The birds will sing and the temperatures will rise, just like it always has. It comforts me to believe that nothing will be different now that I’m gone. How will Hamlet feel about my ultimate wrongdoing? Would he even give the thought of longing for me the time of day?

Under I go. Close your eyes and relax. Don’t fight it. The only way you are meant to go is down. You’re better off this way. 

The frigid water physically hurts me, but it will be over soon.

My garments pull me below the surface. Even if I were to combat I wouldn’t stand a chance. The voluminous dress and abundance of layers below the superficial do the work for me. I know there’s no turning back now. 

Perhaps I will float back up, but my eyes will never meet the shining sun again. My eyes will never meet Hamlet’s again. 

My consciousness is slipping away and silence is prevailing. I can feel it.

You’re better off this way.