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Love. Chapter 13. Eros. Romantic Love (physical lust) Lust in classical myth- poems that caution against and recommend. Venus in mythology cursed love after Adonis (her love) died, will cause suffering, war, misery

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Chapter 13

  • Romantic Love (physical lust)
    • Lust in classical myth- poems that caution against and recommend.
    • Venus in mythology cursed love after Adonis (her love) died, will cause suffering, war, misery
    • Lust in Medieval times-although strongly Christian times, lust creeps into poems and songs(Canterbury Tales)
    • Lust in Shakespeare- Romeo and Juliette pursue their physical attraction, disregarding everything else, people embraced hedonism at this time
eros in eastern culture
Eros in eastern culture
  • A Thousand and One Nights-Scheherezade is the young bride of a Sultan. After their wedding nights, the Sultan has his new brides executed. In order to avoid her fate, Scheherezade tells his stories for 1001 nights until he sees her as a human and not to be killed
  • Tells of wild love , scandalized their Victorian counterparts
  • 18th century-it was expected men kept mistresses
  • Common theme in arts of the time-
    • The Marriage of Figaro
    • Don Giovanni
  • Greek for “love”
  • Platonic Love- Plato’s term for nonphysical love (family and friendship fall under this category), the highest form of love is the love of a beautiful mind
  • Platonic love (Agape)was taken on by Christians to refer to the love God shows humanity, and human spiritual love
  • Few can live up to these standards, transcend physical, passage of time, ideal of perfection
family love
Family love
  • Expect loyalty and favors without asking why
  • Family dynamics have changed over time
  • Role of step siblings/parents, non-traditional families, biological vs. adopted
  • How important are blood ties, less about blood, more about family bonds
  • Families still have conflict
family in religion
Family in religion
  • Hebrews developed father-child relationship with god, set standard for families (love/fear/respect)
  • Wives join new families
  • Honor thy father and thy mother (restatement of tribal requirements)
  • Confucius wants an elder-centered home, very different from today’s child-centered
  • According to Plato, friendship is among the highest goods of the happy life.
  • “kin by choice”
  • Increased importance in a world where the “nuclear family” (parents, kids, grandkids) is deteriorating.
  • Now have “extended family” which includes blood relatives, life-long friends, recent acquaintances
  • American fear of isolation in modern society
    • Commercial example
romantic love
Romantic love
  • Archetype of “The One”, common in Western culture, but not universal
  • Belief in “true love” which transcends physical attraction, or social advantage
  • Basis of hopes and dreams for millions
  • Willing to suffer for it
  • Rooted in 3 sources-
    • Mariolatry,
    • Chivalry,
    • Romance genre
romance has its roots in
Romance has its roots in…
  • Idolatry of Mary
  • People were fascinated by her purity and glory
  • Held women to the same standards
  • Romance as a literary genre came from this time
  • Chivalry-knights code of honor, protect, placing the lady first in any order of events
  • True love was made in heaven and therefore above earthly concerns (physical)


Romance and Chivalry

love as amusement
Love as amusement
  • Set of rules for proper courtship
  • Man would declare passionate love for a lady, attempt a series of tasks to perform to earn her love
  • High-bred woman was meant to be adored, man was her slave
  • “love is a game of seduction”
  • 17th century aristocrats would start verbal matches, then over time end in physical or physical-romantic relationships
  • Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew

Courtly Love

Love as a Game

love and marriage
Love and marriage

The Victorian Model

  • Very strict code of conduct
  • Specific gender roles-
    • male is the breadwinner, make the big decisions, decide who their daughters married
    • Female ran the household, dealt with the servants, chose the menu, wore costly clothing and jewels to show off husband’s wealth
  • Double standard-women must be chaste, still exists today
New versions- no longer confined to same religion, ethnic group, class level, opposite gender, children before marriage, marriage never
love in a time of health hazards
Love in a time of health hazards
  • Pairing of love and disease has a long history in the humanities
  • Losing love to aids, consumption, or other illnesses
  • Love and old age
imagining a world in which only sex exists
Imagining a world in which only sex exists
  • Warnings about separating love and sex are evident in literary works that attack utopianism (belief that there are ideal ways to plan and run a society)
    • Plato’s The Republic
    • Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
    • Orwell’s 1984
    • Atwood’s The Handmaiden’s Tale
  • All of these show that love is a natural instinct that cannot be denied or controlled by outside forces
in conclusion
In conclusion…
  • Humanities teach us that we are free to choose, and that includes the freedom to define love
  • What is most meaningful for us?
  • May choose to remain single
  • May decide love is not to be defined at all