Sounds Greek to me.  However, there was no Ophelia in Greek mythology. The name does come from the classical Greek “ωφελεια” meaning “help” or “gain”

Ophelia is believed  to have been coined by Sannazzaro in 1504 for the name of a character in his pastoral Arcadia.  

Shakespeare has inspired countless artists, and painter John Everett Millais is no exception. His famous “Ophelia” painting was inspired by Hamlet, in which Hamlet’s lover, Ophelia, goes insane with grief after she discovers that Hamlet has murdered her father; in her distraught state, she eventually falls into a brook and drowns. However, in her announcement of the girl’s death, Queen Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother) remarks that Ophelia wasn’t unhappy before her death — that she was picking flowers just before she died, and while in the water, “she chanted snatches of old tunes,/As one incapable of her own distress”

Millais chose to focus on this positive note rather than on the bleakness of the situation, and made the scene beautiful and bright, suggesting that death doesn’t have to be a dark and dismal occurrence. In the painting, Ophelia is surrounded by colorful flowers and plants, symbols of life and continuity, and her body seems to be one with the water; this signifies the concept of returning to the earth when one dies.

Though painted between 1851 and 1852, the meaning behind the image still resonates today: despite the assorted modern options for burial nowadays, many people are still choosing natural burial. (Natural burial typically involves no embalmment, and a simple coffin; there is usually no gravestone, so that the individual is truly a part of nature, rather than disrupting it. All of this combines to make for a basic, gentle return to the earth after death.) This shows that some things will never change, the way Shakespeare remains an important and influential figure today, almost 400 years later.

Ophelia by John Everett Millais (1852) is part of the Tate Gallery collection.
Ophelia by John Everett Millais (1852) is part of the Tate Gallery collection.
John William Waterhouse's painting Ophelia (1894)
John William Waterhouse’s painting Ophelia (1894)
Ophelia by Alexandre Cabanel
Ophelia by Alexandre Cabanel
Ophelia recreated by photographer Dorota Gorecka
Ophelia recreated by photographer Dorota Gorecka

Ophelia Moon 

Ophelia (/oʊˈfiːljə/[6][7] o-FEEL-yə) is a moon of Uranus. She was discovered from the images taken by Voyager 2 on January 20, 1986, and was given the temporary designation S/1986 U 8.   This was not seen until the Hubble Space Telescope recovered it in 2003.  Ophelia was named after the daughter of Polonius, Ophelia, in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.   The moon was also designated Uranus VII. 

Ophelia acts as the outer shepherd satellite for Uranus’ ε ring.  

Uranus Moons
Uranus Moons

Now for the weather.  

Ophelia has been accredited to tropical, storms since 1948.  

In the Atlantic Ocean:

  • Hurricane Ophelia (2005), a slow-moving hurricane that battered the coast of North Carolina.
  • Hurricane Ophelia (2011), a powerful Category 4 hurricane that affected Bermuda (as a powerful hurricane) and Newfoundland (as a post-tropical storm).
  • Hurricane Ophelia (2017), currently active hurricane in the subtropics, expected to affect Europe as a post-tropical cyclone.

In the Western Pacific Ocean:

  • Tropical Storm Ophelia (1948) (T4805)
  • Typhoon Ophelia (1953), (T5308), a Category 3 storm
  • Typhoon Ophelia (1958) (T5801), a Category 5 storm
  • Typhoon Ophelia, a long-lived Category 4 storm in 1960 that devastated the atoll of Ulithi

Following its usage in 1960, the name “Ophelia” was retired in the Western Pacific due to its long track, roughly 5,000 miles (8,045 km), and prolonged time as an intense typhoon.

In the Southwest Pacific Ocean:

  • Cyclone Ophelia (1986)
  • Tropical Cyclone Ophelia (1996)
  • Tropical Cyclone Ophelia (2008) 


Sources and further reading 

The Story of Ophelia

photographer Dorothy Gorecka

Hurricane Ophelia 2005

Hurricane Ophelia 2011
Tropical storm Ophelia.

Hurricane  Ophelia

Ophelia Moon