Sunday, December 07, 2008

Shakespeare got under my skin

"This is the monstrosity in love, lady - that the will is infinite and the execution confined; that the desire is boundless and the act as slave to limit." (3.2.75-78) Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida

I love this quote. There is something so perfect about what it encapsulates. The story of Troilus and Cressida is probably one of the lesser known Shakespeare's, but I've grown to love it for the qualities that are very much like post-modernism like Tom Stoppard. It's almost like a more cynical and darker version of Romeo and Juliet. This quote comes from when they finally confess their love to each other and are about to sleep together before Troilus goes off to war. They are both fearful to let down their guards, especially if it leads them to be irrational. For Cressida, it seems as though carrying out her feelings is almost too girlie for her to handle, or something. And thus Troilus says the above line. But what I love about it, is that all of these things are so horribly true. One's will, when in love, is infinite. No obstacle is too big for it to overcome, and the greed to get what we want often leads us to cause a lot of external damage along the way. When we are burned by love, we often cut off our ties to the outside world and deal with our feelings in private. Internalizing every last bit of them until we are numb. Desire is of course what directs the will, thus they correlate in their uncontrollable nature. But the last phrase is the one that I think is the most important. The act, which refers to sex, is most definitely limiting. It often cripples our judgment because of the physical desires we would fulfill as a trade off to satisfying our emotional well-being. I think that it also limits by tying us to another human being, in a literal and emotional level. That intimacy is something that can't be over looked. It's what defines the act. And no matter what many people my age go around saying about sex, I'm convinced that it's all a bunch of BS. And those who do go around depriving themselves of emotional attachment are only setting themselves up for emptiness which is less fulfilling that the physical joy they desired.

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