Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Twisted Logic From The Divine Gutter

When in Alexander Pope's Eloisa to Abelard, the story of the great French philosopher who notoriously has an affair with one of his female students, the long-suffering and repentant Eloisa utters with an embittered, exclamatory tone - "But why should I on others' pray'rs depend?" - she is questioning the very nature of solidarity amongst people. Are those spiteful relatives and friends of hers the emanation of God's most truly heartfelt creation - slave morality? If they should so maliciously unite, and with such resentful passion I imagine against her person, aren't they the vanguard of slave morality? Behind their ostensibly holy disposition lies the innate desire to prolong her suffering as much as possible, so as to appease their egos and the egos of their base counterparts. As swift as a falcon, they would plunge down on her - the frail, little mouse - seizing the opportunity to convince her that through their "prayers", she will be saved from eternal damnation, when in fact this very act on their part so inevitably puts her on a leash, and with the cross of human betrayal, she heads for the underworld along with the other damned souls!
People best unite through vice than through virtue, and Eloisa, oh she knows this all too well!

Through the above line, Pope so magnificently and yet with such exquisite subtlety acknowledges that poor Eloisa is aware of this - indeed true nobility and greatness finds itself familiar to only a few, if not just to one, and Pope makes it clear that with this precise realisation, Eloisa is thus the ultimate victor in the eyes of the almighty Hindsight! She lost her earthly battles, only to win her divine war - this woman now ought to be venerated as a saint!

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