Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Love and Marriage

Writer Gay Talese is celebrating his fiftieth wedding anniversary by writing a book about his marriage. Among the pearls of wisdom he will include is this: "marriage is not a love story."

Coming from the self-professed poster boy for infidelity-- see his book Thy Neighbor's Wife-- this is somewhat suspect. It is nonetheless true.

Spending your life with someone is not at all the same thing as living out a love story. Besides, as a professor once said, all of the great love stories in Western literature end badly.

Another professor once claimed-- more or less correctly-- that all of Shakespeare's great comedies end at the altar while most of the great tragedies begin with a wedding.

This might merely reflect on the bard's life, but then again, it may contain a larger truth.

I would not want to suggest that Shakespeare believed that all marriages end badly. It would be more accurate to say that when you try to make a marriage into a great story, then it will most likely not end happily.

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