For that finde-siecle generation of artists, Ophelia became almost an obsessive pictorial motif: "Usually depicted as pale and fragile, with dishelmed
hair, semi-naked or in a white dress to symbolize her purity, Ophelia's morbid beauty, enhanced by the beauty of the surrounding nature, set the standard of the nineteenth-century feminine ideal" (Romanska 2005a: 36).
At the moments when he is "silent in the muffled cage of life" (7.32), the paralyzed Prince embodies the more haunting figure of "Death in life, the days that are no more" (4.40) who passes through the final line of "Tears, Idle Tears." When he becomes inexplicably paralyzed during the battle, the Prince appears "stark, / Dishelmed
and mute, and motionlessly pale" (6.84-85), and only Princess Ida is able to discern that he still lives, though without evidence of vital signs.