Ophelia's Song

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Ophelia's Song is a poem from Shakespeare's play Hamlet. It is significant to the plot of Fatal Frame: A Curse Affecting Only Girls, and is mentioned multiple times.


In Hamlet, Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius and a potential wife of Hamlet, though her father has forbidden her to pursue him. As the play goes on, Hamlet becomes embroiled in plots and murders, and Ophelia believes that he has gone insane. In Act 3, Scene 4, Hamlet kills Polonius, and by Ophelia's next appearance she has gone mad. The poem is a series of songs, first melancholy, then bawdy, which she sings while distributing flowers to the people in the room. The symbolism of her song and the flowers is still debated.

In Act 4, Ophelia climbs a willow tree and falls into the river. For a short while, the air trapped in her skirts keeps her afloat, and she drifts in the water singing amidst the scattered flowers she was gathering. Unaware of the danger she is in and unable to save herself, she ultimately drowns.

A Curse Affecting Only Girls

In Saint Loudun's Academy for Girls, Ophelia's Song is traditionally sung at the graduation ceremony by a member of the graduating class. The Headmistress sang it herself at her own graduation, holding a bouquet of gladioli. The students of the current year all nominate Aya Tsukimori, the most beautiful girl in the class, to be the soloist for their own ceremony. On Aya's first day at school, Taruho Saginomiya also asks her to read part of the poem aloud in literature class.

The Headmistress claims that the song is performed to symbolise the death of the girl and the emergence of the woman, that all the students are like Ophelia when they graduate.


First Section

The song, as given in the novel, has two sections. The first is the original by Shakespeare, as translated by Mori Ogai. In Hamlet, Ophelia follows the first section with a ribald verse about a woman losing her virginity before marriage, but this is not included in the novel.

How should I your true love know,
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.

He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone,
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.

White his shroud as the mountain snow
Larded all with sweet flowers,
Which bewept to the ground did not go
With true-love showers.

Second Section

The second stanza of Ophelia's Song was written solely for A Curse Affecting Only Girls. In the story, it was composed by Mio Takaishi for her lover in 1905, as they were about to perform the yuukon rite together. Her lover went on to become Headmistress of Saint Loudun's, and Ophelia's Song became an institution at the school. According to Mary, the first section tells of a reunion with a dead lover, while the second recounts a visit to that lover in the land of the dead. The line "cast off the comb from thine hair" gives Michi a last-minute brainwave about how to break the curse.

Dazzling light and summer's darkness
A painting of a revered maiden at a manor
You float in the waters of the spring
Oh, my beloved sister

Deep in the night, the moon is a wave
A single pearl atop a coffin
Kiss me and I shall lead you to the Underworld
You should turn back, my love

Yomotsu Hegui[1] gives you form
Lighting a single flame
Fleeting dreams become not love
Leave for the real world and do not turn back

Cast off the comb from thine hair
Your flower garland into the water
White fingers on stones that line the path to the Underworld
We are parted, but I remember you

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  1. The food of the Underworld, which condemns the one who eats it to remain there. See also the Japanese myth of Izanagi and Izanami, and the Greco-Roman myth of Hades and Persephone.
Major Characters
Aya Tsukimori - Headmistress - Kasumi - Mary - Maya Tsukimori - Michi - Risa - Susumu Kusakabe - Takashi Saginomiya - Taruho Saginomiya
Minor Characters
Itsuki - Keiko Makino - Kuro Karatsu - Mio Takaishi - Nagi - Ritsuko - Waka
Ophelia Album - Ophelia's Song - The Girls' Curse - Yuukon
Saint Loudun's Academy for Girls
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Aya Tsukimori - Michi Kazato - Headmistress - Itsuki Kikunobe - Kasumi Nohara - Keiko Makino - Kuro Karatsu - Mary - Maya Tsukimori - Mayumi Asou - Mio Takaishi - Risa Suzumori - Susumu Kusanagi - Takashi Asou - Waka Fujii
The Girls' Curse - Ophelia's Song
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