As the ancient story goes, Daphne was a spirited, marriage-hating young huntress. When Apollo beheld her, her arms bare, her hair in haunting disarray, his heart was set ablaze and he set out in pursuit of her. Daphne fled, and she was an excellent runner. Even Apollo was hard put to overtake her; still, he soon gained. Daphne saw her father's river and cried out to him to help her. Her father transformed her into a laurel tree. The story ends with Apollo honoring the tree.
I am sure Daphne didn't expect to become encased in a tree. She probably felt it was quite unfair. To this thought I have decided to finish her story happily. The spell her father put on her wears off. This painting is the moment she realizes her human self again.
Being encased in a tree is a haunting archetype I have found. It speaks of imprisonment and protection; also to vulnerability when this is stripped away.