Aspect of Love in Literature and Arts
Aspect of Love in Literature and Arts
The problem “what is love?” has been explored by poets, philosophers, and almost every person for as long as the history of humanity can go. Based on my research on various research studies on the concept of love, love is defined as a strong bond that forms between two individuals. There are many types of love including love for activities, love for pets, motherly love, brotherly love and the famous romantic love. Whenever, the concept of love is used, in most cases what comes to the mind of an individual is romantic love. This is the focus of this article. How can one know if true love really exists? I have seen some special relationships that have given me hope that true love may actually exist. I have also witnessed some relationships that simply did not work. Romantic relationships have various interpretations regarding how it is expected to be and the factors that make it healthier, stronger, and better. Research has established some factors that appear to strengthen romantic relationships including openness, altruism, honesty, and respect. The underlying factor that defines romantic relationships is love. This article will explore what I have learned in my research and experience on love.
An article entitled, “Does Love Really Exist, or Is It Only a Fantasy?” by Juan Estrada, a Colombian priest specializing in Marriage and Family, asserts that love is part of man’s nature, and even if some people seem not to believe in it, they all have a fantasy of where they can find it. He writes, “…Every human heart longs to find love, to live in love, and to die having felt loved. As much as we may denigrate love or deny its existence, we always seem to dream about that place where we can find it…” (Par 7). Based on this position, it can be argued that humans, as a social creatures, longs to find love. There is a growing need and urge in every human being to feel loved and appreciated. This is something, which is universally recognized.
The Blood Chamber, which is one of the short stories of Angela Carter, places much emphasis on love as a factor that dictates the nature of marriage. The story features a girl who marries a French Marquis, a ruthless man who has already been married three times. He is obsessed with pornography and enjoys embarrassing the unnamed protagonist. However, another character, a piano tuner, develops interests in the girl, despite knowing that the two cannot get married, not when the Marquis is still alive (Penguin Group par, 13). However, eventually the girl is saved from being murdered; her mother comes to the rescue as she shoots the Marquis, who is on the verge of ending the life of her daughter. Through all these experiences, the piano tuner does not sway from demonstrating his affection towards the girl. Ultimately the two get married and live happily ever after, that is, after the death of the Marquis.
A similar demonstration of the borders that true love crosses is shown in The Courtship of Mr Lyon, which tells a story of a lady named Beauty and a creature, Beast. The two meet under strange circumstances where Beast pledges to help Beauty’s father regain his wealth back. He is forced to travel to London and Beauty has to stay with Beast. In his house, Beast does not have human servants as he feels intimidated and mocked due to his creature-like form (Penguin Group par 37). However, the interaction between the two sparks some form of excitement, which later leads to a declaration of love. It is only through true love that Beauty and Beast are able to get into an intimate relationship, something which humans would have strongly opposed. In The Tiger's Bride, Carter creates a story where a beautiful lady is made to live with a tiger after her father loses to the Beast in a game of cards. However, although the heroine is not happy with how she is treated in the new house, she demonstrates her disgust towards how men objectify her (Penguin Group 63). Just like the beast, she is a victim of discrimination and negative stereotype. Eventually, even when she is free to leave, she refuses because she feels safe and wanted in the Tiger’s house. In the end, she turns into a tiger and becomes a fit mate for the beast. This too demonstrates the impact that true love has on both the beast and the beautiful Russian lady. However, Carter presents a different perspective on love in the story, The Erl-King. Her focus of the story is on a maiden who wonders in the woods and comes across an Erl-King, whose reputation is tainted due to his behavior of turning girls into birds (Penguin Group par, 67). In a bid to maintain her freedom, the maiden kills the Erl-King and rescues herself. In this story, Carter creates the assumption that there is no love. The character of the Erl-King is representative of individuals who prey on other people. For instance, the French Marquis in The Bloody Chamber is a good example. The essence of focusing on the role of these characters is to promote the idea that, probably, true love is a fallacy, that is; it does not exist. Owing to this, this creates the assumption that people create their own version of something, which they choose to refer to true love. From a philosophical point of view, one could argue that man cannot believe in what he does not see or touch. Ideally, what exists in the mind alone does not exist; it must be represented in the form of an object.
To critically explore the positions taken by writers in the book entitled “The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories “it was important to explore works by one of the well-known Christian leader and author, Pope John Paul II. His book entitled “Love and Responsibility” clearly positions the concept of romantic love in the existence of humanity. Drawing on his career experience as a priest and a bishop, Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope John Paul II, produced a resourceful and eloquent defence of the idea of romantic love and its importance to humanity. According to his book, sociology, psychology, and biology can offer a valuable understanding on romantic relationships, but a full understanding requires a study of a human being as a whole person (33). The argument presented in this book is contrary to the utilitarian and personality views of sexual relations and marriage. Karol Wojtyla envisions marriage as an interpersonal relationship where self-realisation and wellbeing of each partner override the importance of the other. Therefore, Karol Wojtyla believes that this is the only way through which a full purpose marriage can be realised. Utilitarian view perceives a sexual partner as an object for use, which lacks prospects for happiness and fulfilment. Wojtyla asserts that sexual perversions, pre-marital sex, artificial birth control approaches, and divorce are approaches that are incompatible with personalistic perception of sexual self-realization of an individual (47). He concludes his arguments by positioning love as an important tool that can assist an individual to not only understand but feel another person. Through love, a man is able to understand the fact that a woman is a sense in another world that is different to his is both psychological and physiological sense. Clearly, love is a powerful force in human existence.
Another research was done by Elaine Hatfield, Richard Rapson, and Lise Martel who are all social psychologists at the University of Hawai’i positions the concept of love from a cultural perspective. According to this article, as much as cultural differences influences individuals’ behaviours, emotions, and attitudes, the concept of love is present in most cultures around the world and it is currently a major determinant of marriage relationship between individuals in most societies (763). Specifically, this article established the existence of two powerful forces that content human souls, namely cultural pride and globalization. From the article, the researchers affirm that people from around the world are becoming one; however, the existing cultural variations make the world a dangerous and at the same time an interesting place (765). These factors have been positioned by the authors of this article as major determinants of love in the present world. The article is concluded by asserting that as much as the current cultural convergence is reducing the ways in which romantic love is expressed and experienced, however, traditions are persistent and it is complex to predict the future of romantic love (767). Therefore, the general theme in this article is that romantic love is not only real but present in all cultures around the world.
Furthermore, a study done by Sandler Joseph, Peter Fonagy, and Ethel Spector Person entitled “Freud's" On narcissism--an introduction “offers more insights into the concept of romantic love. The three authors are well-respected psychologists that have published widely in the field of psychology. Specifically, Sandler Joseph was a Ph.D. holder in psychology and British psychoanalyst within the contemporary Freudians, Ethel Person was a Columbian University psychiatrist who is credited for pioneering research on sexuality, and Peter Fonagy is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who is currently the head of department of clinical education and health psychology at University College London. Their book is densely packed with various issues that are under debate in the contemporary society including issues of therapeutic interventions, self-esteem, romantic love, libido, homosexuality, and narcissism (56-97). According to this book, love is essential for wellbeing of individuals. This is highlighted in the text where the authors suggest “…A strong egoism is a protection against falling ill, but in the last resort we must begin to love in order not to fall ill, and we are bound to fall ill if, in consequence of frustration, we are unable to love…” (89). This book positions romantic love as an innate desire among humans where individuals are naturally driven to seek love as a form of need, which results to the erratic behaviour if not satisfied.
Further support for the existence of true love is seen in archaeological excavations or two skeletons, which were holding hands. Jared Keller, who is the Mic News Director and has published various articles in the Daily Dot, Pacific Standard, and the Atlantic authored and article, “Archaeologists Just Discovered the Proof That True Love Really Exists”. According to this article, the remnants of a man and a woman were discovered at a 14th-century pilgrimage site, Chapel of St. Morrell, in Hallaton. Vicky Score, an archaeologist with the University of Leicester stated that, "…We have seen similar skeletons before from Leicester where a couple has been buried together…." (Par 9). The main thing is why were they buried out up there? There is a perfectly good church in Hallaton. Was it a special place?" (Keller par 11). The fact that the skeletons were found holding hands demonstrates the bond, which the two individuals shared during their lifetime. Their relationship must have been based on love that was indeed strong. The gesture of staying connected to each other was clearly demonstrated by the bond they shared even after life. This makes perfect sense that these people valued their union so much that they chose to die together. Consequently, true love is thus a symbol of unity and togetherness as seen from the skeletons.
In conclusion, true love is not only existing but imperative in the sustenance of intimate relationship between two individuals. Individuals that are in happy and successful relationships attest to the existence of true love. Scientific evidence illustrates the innate nature of humans to seek true love and archaeological evidences points to the existence of the concept of love in the society for many years. Consequently, true love as a human practice is a reality and importance to the normal functioning of human life.
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