Abelard And Heloise Essay

1252 words - 5 pages

Time and again, history has created a star-crossed couple that overcomes all obstacles through the strength of love. Whether it is from Pyramus and Thisbe, Romeo and Juliet, or Jack and Rose, the only possibility to separate the couple is the death of one or both individuals. Love is defined in these relationships as fighting against all odds, class, society, and even family, in order to be with their loved one. While these stories may be fictional, history has presented a real case of star-crossed “lovers”, Peter Abelard and Heloise. This couple went to little length to fight society in trying to establish a relationship with one another. Although considered a love story to some, a relationship founded on lust, inability to fight for marriage, and union to the church, shatters the illusion of romance and shows the relationship for what it truly is, a lackluster liaison.
The relationship between Peter Abelard and Heloise failed to be established with strong bonds between the young couple, allowing lust to be the sole, capricious foundation of the relationship. Peter Abelard was a 12th century philosopher who after beginning to lecture on the Scriptures began to gain more notoriety throughout France and much of Europe. This newfound fame soon developed into conceit, Abelard thinking himself “the only philosopher in the world” (Historia Calamitatum 9). This attitude gave way to a lifestyle of flesh, prostitutes, and inability to focus on philosophy. Peter Abelard met Heloise, a young woman with great promise of being a student, while traveling through Paris (9). Rather than establishing a relationship based on a strong foundation, Abelard bases his interest on Heloise through more extraneous factors; Abelard bases this relationship on the difficulty of getting Heloise to come to his bed. Seeing it an easy challenge, he “sought an opportunity of getting to know her through private daily meetings” (10). Abelard equates lovemaking with a healthy relationship, yet by establishing this relationship on lust there is little room for emotional attachment to grow between the couple.
By establishing this relationship on a lustful foundation, Abelard and Heloise were creating a relationship leading to a sinful life. As stated by Abelard, “My love, which brought us both to sin, should be called lust, not love” (Letter 5, Abelard to Heloise 86). When two people are actually in love, the relationship built is symbiotic and mutualistic. Part of that establishment is for the sole purpose that it, in some way, benefits both party members. In the case of Abelard and Heloise, the relationship was not symbiotic; it led both Abelard and Heloise to live a life with one another built on lust. Even Heloise shows how the relationship is not entirely out of true love for Abelard. She states, “…we enjoyed the pleasures of an uneasy love and abandoned ourselves to fornication” (Letter 4, Heloise to Abelard 65-66). This facet directly relates to how the...

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