John William Waterhouse often painted Greek mythology characters, Arthurian legends, and characters in Shakesperian plays. For instance, in this case, Miranda is a character from Shakespeare's The Tempest, a play performed in 1611. In this painting, Miranda appears to be gazing at a dark and stormy sea. There is an image of a ship being thrashed by the waves, rain, and strong winds in the sea. According to The Tempest by Shakespeare, the ship in the water belongs to Miranda's father. Her father is Duke Prospero. Miranda and her father had been detailed on an island for almost twelve years after being exiled from Milan by Antonio, her father's power-seeking brother. In addition to sourcing inspiration from literature and Britain's culture, the artist mainly focused on ladies who experienced a revelation. In this particular painting. Miranda was the only female character to appear on stage in Shakespeare's The Tempest. The play depicts her with concern and drama. This was the main inspiration behind this painting.

While the painting does not describe the play's entire plot, it focuses on the most dramatic event, The Shipwreck. This is also the most tragic moment in the play. In the painting, you cannot see Miranda's face. The painting shows her on the shore, sitting on threatening rocks as she gazes at the shipwreck in the dark and stormy sea. The colors, tragedy, and content allow you to feel her sorrow. For instance, she has her hand on her heart. This is a symbolism of pain and despair. John uses this simple way to express the pain and loss that Miranda suffers. Her other hand rest catches the back of her head. This indicated despair and confusion. Additionally, the entire painting features cold color tones. They are used to underline the sense of loss and numbness. The image of the ship shows it being sliced by powerful waves.

It creates a threatening tone. The threatening rocks also speak mountains of the tragedy. John William Waterhouse painted an earlier version of Miranda in 1875. In this version, he shows a conventional and delicate atmosphere. He also created several paintings depicting a single female character. Miranda became one of the most recognized works by this respected British painter. It is also the most popular illustration of Shakespeare's play. This painting is now part of a private collection. Those interested in female portraits may also like the career of Alphonse Mucha, someone who gifted us the likes of Ivy, Job and Moet et Chandon.