“The Gift of Love” – Creative Writing Essay
The feeling has been known since the beginning of time, and the warning signs have most likely never evolved. They include the heart rising to the throat, inability to catch one’s breath, blood rushing to the cheeks, and the sudden loss of any linguistic capabilities. Yet these are fleeting symptoms, so they cannot really indicate if one is experiencing a visit from that
mysterious and elusive character named romantic love. As powerful as the physical onslaught of lust appears, true love is a phenomena that requires the use of one’s time, thought and energy. To love is to unselfishly be faithful to one’s own feelings for another individual. Loving is not seeking personal gain, but hoping to better the life of the other person by becoming a part of it. Love is severely complex because it requires those who seek it to give up a part of themselves to another, without regard to the personal risks that they are taking through this action. It is this type of dangerous but true love that is exhibited in Camus’ Black Orpheus (1958), which is based on the famous myth of two lovers. In this film, a true and profound love is demonstrated by Orpheus and Eurydice because of these characters’ unselfish motives and commitment to their emotions.
From the beginning of the movie, Orpheus’ history of love proves him to be a philanderer who has never been serious about a woman, and who does not know how to love truly. He has recently become engaged to Mira, the biggest flirt in town, and this is not a poor match. Orpheus himself is a flatterer and a flirt who constructs enchanting phrases when he composes his famous music. His tendency to charm comes across in the scene where he first encounters Eurydice at the trolley station. He playfully inquires where she is off to and flatters her appearance. Because Orpheus has had such experience with women and relationships, one would not expect him to be able to settle down and have a woman suppress his philandering manner. Evidently, Orpheus’ fiancé has not tamed him, as he tries to flirt with Eurydice when he meets her. The way Orpheus reacts to love can be interpreted as selfish. His meddles with women for the sake of his own amusement, not because he has a deep appreciation of them. His generosity towards Mira does not surpass a display of mild passions for her. There is no evidence of his ability to give more to a woman than his poetic but empty words.
When Eurydice rejects the charming words of Orpheus, she demonstrates her ability to see through his external act and appreciate his true identity. Orpheus and Eurydice meet again, and this time they are alone. Orpheus tries once more to charm her, and she claims that it is not his words that she noticed about him, but his tune. She knows that his words are delightful but deceptive, and she is able to see the man who is behind the words. Eurydice perceives Orpheus not as a charmer with a captivating and quick tongue, but as a man whose beautiful music extends from a brilliant soul.
Eurydice proves to be both an open minded and unselfish lover when she refuses to let Orpheus use his charms on her. In the quote previously mentioned, Eurydice reveals both her ability to see Orpheus for who he really is, and also her unwillingness to receive anything less than the real man. Accepting Orpheus’ flattery would be to relinquish hopes of truly understanding who he was, because it would mean that she didn’t believe that there was anything under the words. It would also show selfishness. Accepting his empty compliments would demonstrate a desire for him to affirm her pleasant qualities. Eurydice rejects flattery because she knows her love to be deeper. She is true to the emotions which do not allow her to be a self seeker, but force her to be willing to risk giving in to her strong feelings.
The generosity that Orpheus displays once he realizes the intensity of his feelings demonstrates the truth of his and Eurydice’s love. It is her straight forward attitude and ability to see through him that makes him recognize her uniqueness. He quickly becomes aware of his love for her after he sees that she is serious about him, and now he can think of nothing but her protection. He brings her to his house at night because he wants to be assured of her safety, and he does not make even the slightest sexual advances. This is where his willingness to give of himself for her is demonstrated. His constant concern shifts from his own desires to those of Eurydice. No longer does he try to extract what he wants from the relationship, because his thoughts are more pure.
Orpheus and Eurydice are true lovers because there is no force that can interrupt their commitment. A physical illustration of how deeply Orpheus has loved Eurydice is shown at the end of the film, when Orpheus transports Eurydice’s dead body from the morgue back up the hillside. Eurydice is dead and can no longer give her love to Orpheus, yet even death cannot stop him from caring for her. He watches over the lifeless body and guards it vigilantly, and soon he dies with it in his arms. It is clear that this love is unconditional, because death cannot restrain it. The truest love cannot have boundaries, because that would mean that the lovers have abandoned their emotions. Orpheus is emotionally committed to Eurydice until his death.
Both Orpheus and Eurydice show a willingness to change their lives so that they can fully support one another. There love was based on profound mutual care and sincere generosity, the same characteristics that define true love. Love is valid when it is not based on self interest, but the well being and happiness of the individuals involved. The commitment to giving is the beautiful ideal that is achieved by Orpheus and Eurydice in Black Orpheus.