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Love and desire in Drosilla and Charikles

In the ancient days, love and desire was portrayed with immense emotions as compared to today’s depiction. People in love in those days were ready to die for each another, submit to each another and even kill for each another. However, parent interruptions, abductions, wars and other occurrences were common challenges in the lovers’ lives. The Byzantine novels, especially, have deeply depicted the willingness and the desire for lovers to die for one another for the sake of love. In the book Drosilla and Charikles, the weightiness of love and desire in King Eros was more than the love in today.

The two emotions are illustrated in the book from the on set of book one where Drosilla and Charikles lament at the separation besides the feeling of loss for one another. This is after both have been taken captive by the Barbarians and then separated. Drosilla is taken to the women’s place in order to serve Chrysilla, Pathian’s wife and Charikles is imprisoned. While in prison, Charikles seems to be overwhelmed by the separation from Drosilla. He does nothing more but lament until he attracts the attention of Kleandros, a fellow prisoner, in order to console him. This lamenting is a symbol of loss, as though one loss a part of him/her such as a limb or an eye. However, the only thing preventing them from committing suicide is the hope that the other lover is alive.

In book two, Charikles continues with his lamenting. Since Kleandros cannot take it any more, he decides to tell Charikles his own story as a way of consoling him. He tells of how he spent a long time trying to win a girl, Kalligone, whom he had fallen in love with after finally seeing her since she had been secluded. He had tried using letters, serenading her with his kithara, just but to mention a few techniques, but they did not work out. Kleandros anecdote depicts the challenges the men had to go through before winning their lovers’ emotions in this era. However, Kleandros’ persistence on winning her love also portrays that the youth’s love was real. This is unlike the love depicted today where youths only go after a girl due to peer pressure and their ego. After they win the girl and sleep with her, they take off for another chase.

Challenges posed by the abductors, parents, the authority, just to mention but a few did not intrigue the lovers to loose hope of each other. The lovers were willing to do anything, which is not a common scenario today. For example, Kleandros was willing to walk into the maiden’s quarters and serenade Kalligone even though it was against the authority. Kalligone had been secluded in separate chambers by her parents in order to prevent her from seeing men. The abductors had kept Drosilla and Charikles separate in order to prevent them from seeing one another but they did not give up on their love. In today’s relationships, spouse cheating, especially when one is separated from the other due to various reasons, is on the increase.

In the fourth book, a description of the emotions and love for each other is described poetically:

“I am the tree; come cling to me,

for you have my arms in place of branches.

I am the tree; climb me

and pluck my fruit, which is sweeter than honey” (4.285-288).

Such poems were used to portray the lovers’ emotions and love for each other. This can also be identified in the other Byzantine novels. The willingness to die is depicted when Charikles laments while wishing death on himself when he imagines that Drosilla is dead after falling in the sea.

Other circumstances that depict lust are portrayed by Kallidemos, who lies of not knowing Charikles in order to take Drosilla for himself. Such circumstances are also common today. Dreams are also seen to play a major role in the world of love in this era. Drosilla and Charikles have dreams, which show them of where the other is when they were separated from each other (book 6). Although they had lost a lot, including their friend, Kleandros, they finally started a new life together. This shows that there is hope for the challenges of love even today.

Work Cited

Eugenianos, Niketas. Drosilla and Charikles. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Cardicci Publishers, Inc, 2004. Print

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