Tragic Love

It's not always a happy ending....




romeo and juliet

Star crossed lovers and we all know what happened to them.  Tragic as it seems in fiction, the "formula of Romeo and his Juliet has been repeated both in fiction and tragically enough, in non-fiction.  Every now and then, we'll read in the paper of lovers killing themselves in the manner of our two young lovers.  Shakespeare wrote about real love, real life and real tragedy.

dracula and mina harker

According to Bram Stoker, the originator of the story of Dracula, the unrequited love of these two, pushed the legend of vampires to the brink of sensual reading.  Dracula waited through time to be with her again, only to give her up rather than doom her to a life of dark hunting.  Breathtaking in its tragic simplicity, one can almost believe from reading the story, that Mina doesn't quite see the enormous sacrifice her lover makes for her.

arthur and gwenevere

Without this great myth (quite possibly more), Arthur shows us that forgiveness does weigh out as more an honorable cause than not.  He loved Gwenevere so much that he released her gently from her torment, by forgiveness of the love trysts with Lancelot. Lancelot is also released, both these lovers forgiven by one man's real love.  With one participant dead, another in a nunnery and the third killed by his son, we see the tragedy of this myth with solemn detail. Speculation of gay love between Lancelot and Arthur has seen daylight more than once.





samson and delihalah

"Samson may have defeated the Philistines, but it was his love and trust of Delilah that led him to his doom.  You see, Samson's legendary strength came from his flowing locks of hair, but Delilah was a Philistine and had her lover shorn.  But all did not end there, for Samson carried out one last feat of strength, he brought down the temple of Dagon, to which he was chained.  Now you decide where he found that last bit of strength, was it from God, or from the anger he felt from having been betrayed?"
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tristram and isolde

Set during the reign of King Arthur, Isolde of Ireland, daughter to Angwish, King of Ireland, was betrothed to King Mark of Cornwall. King Mark sent his nephew, Tristan, to Ireland to escort Isolde back to Cornwall. Tristan was a noble knight, whose name means "sorrow", given to him because of the loss of his mother at his birth.

"Before leaving Ireland, Isolde's mother gave a love potion to Isolde's handmaiden, Brangraine, with strict instructions to keep it safe until they reached Cornwall. It was then to be given to Isolde on her wedding night. Sometime during the voyage, Isolde and Tristan drank the potion by accident and fell forever in love.

Isolde did marry Mark of Cornwall, but could not help but love Tristan. The love affair continued after the marriage. When King Mark finally learned of the affair, he forgave Isolde, but Tristan was banned from Cornwall. Tristan moved to King Arthur's court and later went to Brittany. There he met Iseult of Brittany (also known as Iseult of White Hands). He was attracted to her because of the similarity of her name to his true love. He married her, but did not consummate the marriage because of his love for the "true" Isolde. After falling ill, he sent for Isolde in hopes that she would be able to cure him. If she agreed to come, the returning ship's sails would be white, or the sails would be black if she did not agree. Iseult, seeing the white sails, lied to Tristan and told him that the sails were black. He died of grief before Isolde could reach him. Isolde died soon after of a broken heart. Iseult regretted her actions after she saw the love that the two had for each other."


anthony and cleopatra

"Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours, 
Let's not confound the time with conference harsh: 
There's not a minute of our lives should stretch 
Without some pleasure now."

"Although Antony's passion for Cleopatra seems all-consuming, there remains in him a spark of propriety, responsibility, duty. Cleopatra has not yet captured the whole of his soul. Thus, while with Cleopatra later, he suddenly gets up and leaves when his sense of duty seizes him."      Read more


heloise and abelard

“You know, beloved, as the whole world knows, how much I have lost in you, how at one wretched stroke of fortune that supreme act of flagrant treachery robbed me of my very self in robbing me of you.”    (Letter, Heloïse to Abelard)

"Theologian and philosopher Abelard (1079–1142) became tutor to 17-year-old Heloïse (1101–1164). In one of history's tragic stories, they fell in love, Heloïse gave birth to a son and they married. In revenge, Heloïse's scandalized family robbed Abelard of his manhood. In sorrow, Abelard became a monk and Heloïse took the veil. They wrote love letters to each other from their monastic quarters. When Heloïse died she was buried next to Abelard. Their story so gripped the imagination that in 1817 they were moved to Père Lachaise, a pilgrimage site for lovers."



~ As with many of our articles, this list will be added to on occasion ~

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