Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Pleasure and Pain of Finding a Soulmate




Absence extinguishes small passions and increases great ones, as the wind will blow out a candle, and fan a fire.

Over the centuries writers have been fascinated by the idea that when it comes to love there is one perfect person out there, meant just for you, and when you meet this person your life will change forever.  You'll be drawn to them in a way you've never experienced before - with a deep, natural attraction that tells you this person absolutely must be a part of your life or you can never be happy. This person will stay in your soul, haunt your dreams and cause a longing so fierce that all other relationships are doomed.  Romantic tragedies are built around this idea and some of the greatest love stories - in books, movies and real life, are tales of soul mates struggling against all odds to be together, in some cases until they die.

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:the original star-crossed lovers from feuding families, together finally in death.
A 20th century take on Shakespeare's great tragedy. West Side Story's Tony and Maria: tragic lovers from opposing gangs who show that love is all that matters.

The problem is, in many books and movies, relationships with soul mates can be destructive, with both partners caught up in such a frenzy of passion they eventually burn out, though the heat still lingers forever. Like the following couples: 
Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald: the King and Queen of the Jazz Age.  Self-destructed in a frenzy of alcohol-fuelled parties.  Fitzgerald dedicated THE GREAT GATSBY to Zelda and supported her when she was committed to an insane asylum.

Liz Taylor and Richard Burton: married, divorced then remarried but the flame still burned.

By far the most compelling love stories involve a situation where two people meet, feel a strong animal attraction but fear its intensity.  The attraction is transformed into a strange kind of loathing, and the couple avoid each other at all costs though they are still under each other's spell.  They circle each other like wild cats, afraid to give in to the passion for fear of tearing each other apart.  Sometimes they finally give in, unable to deny the feelings any more.

Pride and Prejudice's, Elizabeth and Darcy: initial loathing turns to love



Bridget Jones Diary, a modern take on Pride and Prejudice in which Bridget must choose between flirtatious Daniel Thornton or the more intimidating Mark Darcy.
Mrs. Gaskell's North and South: privileged southerner, Margaret moves north and encounters the handsome but forbidding cotton mill owner, John Thornton.


So on a final note - here's a little piece of romantic poetry to help fan the flames of passion on that warm summer evening when the wine is chilled, the stars are twinkling in a velvet sky and the waves are lapping softly on the sand. Just click and hear the sounds of Andy Garcia as he reads the wonderful Pablo Neruda poem, Tonight I can Write the Saddest Lines. 
You'll be drawn so close, you'll never let your true soulmate go!