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Basic Definition “Lovers whose relationship is doomed to fail are said to be ‘star-crossed’ (frustrated by the stars), because those who believe in astrology.

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Definition “Lovers whose relationship is doomed to fail are said to be ‘star-crossed’ (frustrated by the stars), because those who believe in astrology."— Presentation transcript:


2 Basic Definition “Lovers whose relationship is doomed to fail are said to be ‘star-crossed’ (frustrated by the stars), because those who believe in astrology claim that the stars control human destiny… ‘Star- crossed lovers’ refers to any lovers whose affection for each other is doomed to end in tragedy” (“Star- crossed lovers”).

3 Mythic Examples  Pyramus and Thisbe (Roman Mythology) – This tale features two lovers who are kept apart by parental wishes. Communicating through a crack in a wall, these lovers arrange a secret meeting but by the end of the tale both characters tragically kill themselves ("Pyramus and Thisbe").

4 More Mythic Examples  Tristan and Isolde (Celtic Mythology) – The Cornish knight, Tristan, travels to Ireland to bring back the fair Irish princess, Isolde, for his uncle King Mark to marry. But on the way back from Ireland, Tristan and Isolde accidentally ingest a love potion that causes them to become madly enamored with one another ("Tristan and Isolde").

5 Tristan and Isolde (continued)  “The great stories in our Western tradition help us meditate on the eternal dimensions of love. Many of these stories have such depth of mystery and grandeur of expression that they are considered almost canonically sacred…[including] the Star-crossed Fate of Tristan and Isolde…It is a story about love’s sadness. The lover’s name, Tristan, means sad – triste…The tale of Tristan and Isolde, therefore, is about love entering the tragic side of life from this glowing puer place…Like an ever-present shadow, sadness accompanies every thrill and success the two young people squeeze from fate” (Moore 82 – 84).

6 Further Mythic Examples  Lancelot and Guinevere (Arthurian Legends) – Kept apart by circumstance and moral concerns, the love between this leading knight and queen mars the Round Table and dooms Camelot ("Guinevere”).

7 More Mythic Examples Layla and Majnun (Arabic Legend) – These two lovers are kept apart due to parental disapproval. Towards the end of the tale, Majnun is driven insane by his separation from Layla (Coker).

8 Further Mythic Examples  The Butterfly Lovers (Chinese legend) – In this legend, often called the Chinese Romeo and Juliet, the lovers are kept apart due to an arranged marriage already in place for the young maid, Zhu. This drives her love, Liang, to ill health and death. Upon his death, Zhu travels to Liang’s grave and jumps down into its depths – ending her life. Both lovers are then transformed into butterflies (“China to seek world heritage listing of ‘butterfly lovers’ story” ).

9 Literary Application –Star-Crossed Lovers  In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s arresting novel The Great Gatsby, an economic and social divide ostracizes Gatsby from his lovely Daisy. In a pivotal flashback scene the idea of a destined but tragic love is foreshadowed, “There was a stir and bustle among the stars…His heart beat faster and faster…So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch…the incarnation was complete” (Fitzgerald 117). Though in her youth Daisy loves Gatsby, she marries a wealthier man due to his elevated social status, “‘Congratulate me,’ she muttered…She began to cry – and cried and cried…Next day at 5 o’clock she married Tom Buchanan without so much as a shiver” (Fitzgerald 81). But Gatsby is never able to detach himself like Daisy from their failed love affair, “‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he asked incredulously. ‘Why of course you can’” (Fitzgerald 116). Gatsby’s efforts to reestablish relations with his lost love Daisy directly lead to his ruination, completing this tragic literary love story.

10 Modern Examples  In the 1957 musical and 1961 film West Side Story, the tale of Romeo and Juliet is altered and updated. Set in 1950’s New York City, the musical traces the tragic love between Tony (a member of the white gang, The Jets) and Maria (sister to the leader of the Puerto Rican gang, The Sharks). Separated by both cultural and racial differences, Tony and Maria are definitely star-crossed. At the end of the two act story, Tony is murdered by a rival gang member and Maria is emotionally shattered.

11 Modern Examples  In the 1980’s, the work of filmmaker John Hughes helped to codify the teen movie as a valid film genre. In such memorable films such as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, and The Breakfast Club, the director captured both the texture of teenage angst and the hope somehow tied to the impossible fruition of star- crossed loves.

12 Modern Examples  In the 1997 film Titanic, Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt Bukater must contend with the barrier of economic differences as they struggle to enjoy their ill-fated affection. Though they are content for a few brief moments, their blissful union ends in icy tragedy.

13 Modern Examples  In the 1997 Sci-Fi thriller Gattaca, Vincent Freeman and Irene Cassini are eventually kept apart due to genetic differences. At the beginning of the film, Vincent must take on a false identity to hide the deficiencies in his DNA. But at the end of this tragic love story, the minor flukes in Irene’s genetic makeup hinder her from joining Vincent on his journey to the stars.

14 Modern Examples  In Stephenie Meyer’s 2005 bestselling series Twilight and the subsequent film adaptations, Bella and Edward are periodically kept apart due to their deep-seated differences. Although by the end of saga these characters are finally able to be together, for most of their tragic tale these lovers are separated by their mortality or lack thereof (I am not a Twilight fan, so don’t stake me through the heart if I have some missing details).

15 Major Resources  Coker, J.T. “Follow Your Heart: The Story of Layla and Majnun.” TheoSociety. Web. 22 Mar 2010.  “China to seek world heritage listing of ‘butterfly lovers’ story.” 22 Mar 2010.  "Guinevere." The Camelot Project. University of Rochester. Web. 22 Mar 2010.

16 Major Resources  Moore, Thomas. Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. Harper Collins, 1992. Print.  "Pyramus and Thisbe." The New York Times Company, Web. 22 Mar 2010.  “Star-crossed lovers." Web. 22 Mar 2010.  "Tristan and Isolde." Timeless Myths. 24 June 2006. Web. 22 Mar 2010.

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