Love in marriage goes hand in hand like traffic and weather. Love is usually the driving force within any successful marriage. In most communities and societies, two people, often male and female, would fall in love, and as the love grows, the feeling to get married intensifies. Although relationship and marriage experts in today’s world argue that there are marriages that are purely for convenience, this does not rule out the fact the love is the greatest thing that happens within a marriage. Marriage, like any other institution, faces numerous challenges ranging from infidelity, luck of trust, and unfaithfulness. However, it is the quantity of love within a marriage that can overcome challenges. This paper will discuss the theme of marriage in view of Socrates dialogue about Marriage and Love by giving specific references to Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and The Epic of Gilgamesh translated by Andrew George.
Socrates is unfaithful. He has an extra-marital affair with one woman, Myrto. In Socrates view, this woman is only a mistress; however, as most men would do, Socrates discloses to Myrto how he feels about his marriage with Xanthippe. In the mistress’ understanding, Socrates does not love his wife and will do anything to leave his wife for her. This view symbolizes what happens in the world today. Men cheat on their wives. It is not clear what makes Socrates cheat on his wife as there is no evidence showing Xanthippe to have behaved in a manner that would make Socrates cheat on her. It is purely a decision he makes out of his own conscience. There is an old general theory that men love infidelity and that is how they were created naturally.
Whether true or false, there is no other known explanation that would take love as the main driving force within a marriage. When Myrto comes confronting Socrates at his home, claiming that he should be with the one he loves, Myrto is surprised and shocked to learn that Socrates loves his wife, Xanthippe, who also has his son. Myrto claims that Socrates is unhappy in his marriage, a claim that Socrates refutes. The explanation that would explain why Socrates kept lying to Myrto about his marriage is maybe because he wanted sexual favors from her. It is also necessary to note that in today’s world, not all women would stand such confrontations with their husband’s mistresses. Xanthippe respectfully comes to the defense of her husband, stating they were both confined to the vows they made towards marriage and above all they loved each other. Love is truly the greatest thing in marriage (Surhone et al. 101).
In the book Second Sex, de Beauvoir argues her views about women, men, marriage, and love in a French native setting. She describes the relation between men and women as imbalanced and uneven. She further goes ahead to describe the male species as the superior of the two species. Just like in the marriage between Socrates and Xanthippe, Socrates cheats on his wife. This superiority is clearly brought into light when Socrates has to make a choice between whom of the two women he loves. Now imagine a scene where it is Xanthippe who was in the position of Socrates; this never would have happened (De Beauvoir 418).
In the The Epic of Gilgamesh, Love is described as a motivating force (George 112). It also describes the change Gilgamesh undergoes in his relationships. Most importantly, the author of the book describes love as a thing that can change people. Just like in Socrates dialogue, love motivates him to stay with his family. He chooses his wife over his mistress, Myrto. The infidelity theme that is discussed in The Epic of Gilgamesh can be equated to the extra-marital affair between Socrates and Myrto.
In all these scenarios, love is seen to conquer all challenges that befall any marriage. It is crucial for any married couple, like Socrates and Xanthippe, to remain faithful and adhere to the vows they made to each other.