In Omeros and Till We Have Faces how do the authors explore the idea of love and its effect on people and society?

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Madeleine Turner

Madeleine Turner


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In both Omeros and Till We Have Faces both authors explore the idea of love and its effect on people and society. Lewis and Walcott have both successfully attempted to create links between the different types of love that are present and have many similarities within their use of love as both a savior and hindrance. Both writers draw their novels context from Greek Myth which was renowned for its romantic context but also the burden of love which has a great effect of both writers’ novels, however they present them in very different ways as Walcott is using the ‘Iliad’ as his aid whereas Lewis is focused as a retelling of ‘Cupid and Psyche’. Walcott in difference to Lewis has a person agenda when writing Omeros; wanting to give St. Lucia a history whilst using aspects of Homer is something which he has done successfully and won him the Nobel Prize. Lewis however in retelling the myth is able to achieve his own goals and comments on religion, society and his own personal aspects.

Within Till We have Faces there is a clear presence of distorted and obsessive love. Orual’s infatuation with Psyche is something which engulfs the reader from the moment that the latter is born. This sister, woman, object even is her every waking minuet. It is clear that Lewis wants to highlight this impulsive and obsessive love when Orual states that ’the world had broken in pieces and Psyche and I were not in the same piece’ but separate entities and persons which they had been from the beginning but Orual was too blinded by obsession to notice. Although the ending of the book when separated by the gods, it is apparent to the reader that there is a serious distortion of love much beyond that of sisterly affection. Orual would never be able to comprehend that type of love which Psyche experiences as she is to blind to what she has, being a great warrior queen and leader because she sees only what she does not have in comparison to Psyche. When Psyche is taken by Ungit to be sacrificed for the good of the people Orual is ‘heart shattered for Psyches’ sake’ it is important to notice Lewis’ choice of wording when stating that the upset was for Psyche’s sake; the reader is fully aware by now that this is more than just a family affection and that Orual is in a state of denial in regards to the true extent of her passion and love for Psyche. Pete Lowman proposes the idea that Orual ‘is merely a moral exemplum of egoism masked as love’

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Like Till We Have Faces, Omeros also features this idea of obsessive love. When first read one would believe it was jealousy and the want of love and acceptance from Helen that fuelled the argument between Achille and Hector over the tin, however on closer inspection it appears to the reader that this is more than just jealously. Both men want to possess Helen as an object, to claim her as their winning prize, the prime example of the male ego. This idea of possession and obsession is something which both writers have chosen to concentrate on; showing to the ...

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