Monday, September 27, 2010

Can Love be Defined?

As depicted in William Shakespeare’s “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” and Elizabeth Gilbert’s “One Word,” love is a complex emotion. While some people may argue that love is an easily understood concept, there are many reasons that demonstrate that love is complicated. This is significant because if one wishes to comprehend the underpinnings of life, interpersonal connections, and emotions, then one must acknowledge that love is anything but simple.

As one can see, love is a central theme in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “One Word.” During the narrator’s dialogue with her friend’s husband, Giulio, it is revealed that love is interpreted in numerous different ways. For example, when discussing whether or not Liz (the narrator) has a different ‘word’ than Rome, Giulio claims that Rome’s ‘word’ is “SEX” (103). Immediately, Liz has a negative reaction with this sentiment in which she traces her thoughts back to the “sexual self-confidence disaster” (105) of her last relationship. Here, the author provides the reader with the view that love and sex are not necessarily intertwined – to some people, love may be physical (hence the need for sex), whereas for other (such as Liz) love may be something different. Through this exchange, one is able to see that true meaning of love is open for interpretation.

Similarly, Shakespeare’s poem “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” portrays love in yet another abstruse form. At first, when looking at the poem as a whole, one would think that Shakespeare is insulting his mistress. His phrases such as “But no such roses see I in her cheeks” (6) and “Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks” seem to produce negative connotations, however Shakespeare does this to emphasize the real meaning of the poem. If one looks beneath the words, one will see that Shakespeare is implying that no one is perfect, and, regardless of his mistress’s obvious imperfections, he cannot help but love her. He cannot make false comparisons of her (“As any she belief with false compare” (14)) because he knows this would falsify his true love. In this way, Shakespeare gives the reader another perspective on love: that some amorous feelings bear their own meaning to different people. In any case, as humans we must accept that (sometimes) love is simply inexplicable.

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