Sunday, May 20, 2012

Know Your Archetype: Star-Crossed Lovers

This post has been in draft, scratches and scribbles, for weeks. With the latest considerations, thought it may be a good time to post these thoughts (and dammit, wouldn't you know? My notebooks are somewhere else. Probably at work.)

Here is my addendum to the "death and taxes" belief:

*If you're asking, "Is this enchilada still good?" it isn't.
*There are no such things as "soul-mates."

As far as star-crossed lovers go, most likely the most famous example is Romeo & Juliet. Anyone familiar with the play has similar reactions: "What the hell?!" And, then naturally, a wondering of what might have happened if they hadn't died, if they had lived 'happily ever after.' But the tearing asunder of the love is at the core of the star-crossed nature (and nod to Shakespeare for that term, 'star crossed.' It is magical.)


Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
Romeo And Juliet Prologue, 1–8

The story is a huge ping-pong of cause and effect. Any English teacher in the upper grades worth his or her salt uses this as the primary focus of the story, and perhaps as a cautionary tale for teenagers not to get swept up in their hormones, drama, and arrogance in their perception that 'no one could possibly understand how they feel' hubris. We get it, kids, we really do.

Star-crossed lovers are essentially two people, thrown together by fate, destiny, and yet cruelly destined to never be together, to never be allowed to share their lives, build their dreams, or embrace their futures. But, because their lives are cut off dramatically short, they are forever ensconced in youth, beauty, and perfection. Quite a price to pay, though. Especially for misplaced notes, meddling nurses and well-meaning friars. But as over-done and over-analyzed as Romeo & Juliet may be, I am still haunted by an epiphany I had when I watched the most recent 1996 film version, and the gang-style violence of the families really hit home. This is what many teenagers are living with, and though they are unlikely to go down the same short path of the two protagonists, family and gang loyalties are a fact of life for many children today. Some sad things never change. Love and violence are as intertwined as an embrace.

Mercutio's performance is worth the price of admission, and a favorite character of mine

Cupid and Psyche

Some examples:
Pyramond & Thisbe (Ovid)
Eros/Cupid & Psyche (Greek mythology)
Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare)
Jack & Rose (Cameron)
Rhett & Scarlett (stupid Civil War! Always messing things up!) (Mitchell)
Tyrande & Illidan (Blizzard lore writers)

Tyrande & Illidan? But--she's happily with Malfurion! Oh, is she? I think Erinys and I completely agree that her relationship with Malfurion is, well--more Isla Lund and Victor Laszlo than Isla Lund and Rick Blaine. Even though that dialogue is certainly cheesy in Well of Eternity, if you stop and think about it, it's sad, too. I resist the urge to put a gag order on Malfurion, tell Illidan to pull his head out and kiss her already, and tell Tyrande to kiss him back. And bring extra arrows.

Vidyala's artwork from Manalicious. Tyrande still dreaming of Illidan...

And as awesomesauce as True Love is, it doesn't take out the trash, and still yells when the thermostat is changed. (Trust me. It does.) Romeo & Juliet got off easy in some ways. Juliet never had to learn that Romeo could be a big pouty baby when he gets a head cold, and Romeo never realizes how disturbing Juliet looks when she eats toast.

One of the modern-day star-crossed realities are long-distance relationships. I was pondering yesterday how many relationships have begun in Azeroth. Think about the friendships you've made, and even though it's a voice in Vent, or text on a screen, these friendships are real, or as real as real is capable. And then I am saddened for those young lovers who are oceans apart, and because of careers, families, and other obstacles simply cannot be in closer proximity. Having been in long-distance relationships myself, I know it's bittersweet. You don't necessarily have to learn to live with the irksome habits of another human in your physical space, but right now you're probably thinking a few dirty socks on the floor would be worth it. So when I speak of there being no 'soul-mates,' I mean, consider all of the relationships in your life: there are many for whom the shoe fits. There are those who are a more perfect fit than others, to be sure, and loyalty, fidelity, and trust are the foundations for long-lasting loves. There may be more than one lid for every pot, as the old expression goes, so no need for daggers to the chest or poison viles to the lips.

There is only one thing that breaks True Love (and no it's not a nice MLT, mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes perky), but death. That's it. So, young lovers, don't rush toward it. Enjoy your time now, and let the stars take care of themselves.

This is one of my favorite quotes, by one of my favorite authors:

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.” 
 Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker

Addendum: How could I have forgotten this? It was in my notes, which I have since found:

Theme songs:
Everclear/Local God
Jet/Are You Going to Be My Girl?
The King and I/Deborah Kerr/Hello Young Lovers (bring a tissue)


  1. Matty that was beautiful! I am tempted to write a response but I don't want to mar your beautifully written, thoughtful and provoking post. Brilliant!

  2. Please - write away! I love your perspective on life, Navi - please write something, my hopeless romantic! And thank you, too. Let me know when (not if) you post it!


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