final paper - Carlos Caceres Ancients and Modernists The...

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Carlos Caceres Ancients and Modernists 5/5/09 The Concept of Love in Kafka and Euripides Love reveals the true personalities of the people it touches. Euripides’s Helen and Franz Kafka’s novella “The Metamorphosis” grasp the emotion by giving characters contrasting personalities that reveal the author’s thoughts on love. They believe that there are two different types of love: false and true. In Helen, Helen has been held captive as a bride for several years and when her husband Menelaus returns to her, she has to find a way to escape with both their lives. The Metamorphosis tells the story of Gregor, a man who has mysteriously turned into an insect and needs to struggle with everyday life while slowly learning the truth about the family he has come to completely depend upon. Although the conflicts in each story are different, the concept of love does not change. Euripides and Kafka show that false love is that of carnal needs and general selfishness while true love is expressed as sympathetic and selfless. By creating the misfortunes and achievements of those who embrace false and true love respectively, the emotion shows how embodying the latter is the only route towards tranquility. The selfishness of Theoclymenus in Helen is used to show that false love brings only shame, as he loves Helen, an already married woman. His love is very quickly denounced, as his sister states that the “marriage over which [he rages] was not to be….[Helen] must be once more married with her own, and go home, and live with her husband,” going against what Theoclymenus’s wishes, causing his anger (245). Theoclymenus is intent on wedding
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an already married woman, greatly hinting at the turmoil false love causes. Theoclymenus’ false love is shown through his selfish act of keeping a married woman from the Achaeans because of his hatred towards them. . By “marrying an already married woman [it] brings shame to his father’s grave,” showing exactly how false love affects Theoclymenus’s family (232). His selfishness is the cause of misfortune towards his father, an incredibly looked-down upon act coming from a king. The misfortune shows that false love can negatively affect both a character and the people closest to him/her. Through false love, Theoclymenus walks a path of misfortune, never solving his dilemma and watching his love be taken away by those he hates most.
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