Love between man and woman: everyone has been looking for it since the days of Adam and Eve. Has anyone ever found it? To read our literature we would say yes. But today things seem to have become particularly complicated. How many people today experience the pain of separation and divorce? How many of these then no longer believe in love?
What does our literature teach us of the world in which love worked?
Feminine emancipation, the crisis of male identity and the collapse of the family pose many questions. The first of which is: can love still exist between man and woman? Italy has always been the home of love. Dante and Beatrice, courtly love, Romeo and Juliet and all the rest give Italians a responsibility. The responsibility to guide the love between man and woman in the present time. What does our literature teach us then? What does it show us of the world in which love still worked?
- Literary loves are all extramarital. Dante and Beatrice, Laura and Petrarca, Paolo and Francesca. All in love and all married … with someone else. If by love we mean carnal passion, that confined to the horizon of emotions, literature teaches us that it exists, yes, but only outside marriage and only for a short time. Perhaps this should make us wonder what we really mean by the word “love”: passion, butterflies in the stomach, burning fire or something more delicate and discreet, silent and modest? And which of the two do we expect from marriage?
- Marriage has little to do with passion. Just read any classic to find out that marriage is historically a contract that two people make. We got married to run a business – the family in fact – based not on kisses and caresses but on exchanges of money and distribution of tasks. Not for nothing does marriage mean “mater munus“, function, duty of the mother and is paired with “pater munus“, that is heritage. Marriage was essentially a pact with which a man guaranteed financial security for a woman, who made a commitment to do and raise children. Not the meeting of two bodies that pursue pleasure together. For that there have always been the figures of lovers and “cavalier serventi” as Byron’s.
- Men and women are different. In literature love dynamics there is always a disparity between them: man strives to conquer, the woman does everything to defend herself. A man was successful when he conquered, a woman when she resisted. This is why traditionally a man is considered successful if he has many women and the woman vice versa. Today it seems the opposite. Yet the final result does not seem to gratify anyone.
- Love means sacrifice. Whether it’s the story of Romeo and Juliet or that of the Betrothed, the indication is the same: love requires a sacrifice. The greatest sacrifice: that of oneself and all that surrounds us. We shpuld think well if we really sacrificed ourselves in love before we start complaining about the other.
- There is always room for love. At every age there are new colors that the meeting of men and women can discover. From the youthful loves of Moccia to the elderly ones of “Love in the Time of Cholera” by García Márquez. As a teenager passion drives you, as adults is the reason, instead, from elderly, the affection. Perhaps love is what lies beneath all this flow?
Everything else must be discovered from up close.