The Betrayal of Love

Tie one end of a rope to your heart and the other to the nearest door knob. Then, ask someone you love to give the door a good slam.

There is a reason that a man gets down on his knees when he proposes. He’s telling you that he is vulnerable in your presence. The origin of this goes back to the days of knighthood and chivalry when it was customary for a knight to dip his knee in a show of servitude to his Queen. The symbol is the same. He has laid down his armor and his sword and is defenseless in your presence. He would die for you.

It is this single truth that has, from time immemorial, caused countless authors, poets, and gods to proclaim the evil that only women can do. A gunshot to the head my be less painful than being betrayed by a woman you love. True love is something rare and simple for a man. I doubt women will ever understand how interwoven love is with the deepest layers of a man’s soul.

Of course this is only true for those in love. Only you know if you are in love … and if you are, you know. Dante discusses both sides of love in The Divine Comedy. In one the highest rings of the inferno we find Pablo and Francesca. For Dante, they represent true love. The two accepted eternal damnation in hell in order to live one moment in love together. When Dante shows us love’s negative, we find ourselves not in flames, but in the frozen, icy core of hell in close company with Christianity’s ultimate symbol of love’s betrayal, Judas.

It’s no wonder that religious symbols and metaphors the world over reflect these deep emotions. In the final analysis, true love is as close to God as we will experience in this world.

    Love, which in gentle hearts is quickly born,
    Seized him for my fair body which, in a fierce
    Manner that still torments my soul, was torn

    Untimely from me. Love, which absolves
    None who are loved from loving, made my heart burn
    With joy so strong that as you see it cleaves
    Still to him, here.

    – Dante

Comments (1):

  1. Silly Girl

    July 5, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    “…and blessed be the first sweet suffering that I felt in being conjoined with love and the bow and the shafts with which I was pierced, and the wounds that run to the depths of my heart…”

    The Enchantress of Florence — Salman Rushdie

    Reply

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