In the Roman myth, Echo fell in love with the beautiful Narcissus. But Narcissus, on seeing his own reflection in a fountain, became infatuated with it and consequently despised Echo. She then pined away until only her voice remained. Waterhouse has marvellously represented the self-absorption of Narcissus as he sprawls on the ground looking downwards and totally oblivious of the very desirable Echo separated from him by the river. Her cramped pose demonstrates the frustration of unrequited love - a very common theme in Victorian art and a favourite theme for the artist. The landscape background has a sinister atmosphere appropriate to the subject and a decorative quality with strong, distinct shapes.