Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Love Story of Thisbe and Pyramus

Historical cases of broken hearts and obsessions are not hard to come by. The stories of Pyramus and Thisbe, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Tristan and Isolde, Prince Saleem and Anarkali, Napoleon and Josephine, and Queen Victory and Prince Albert stand out as icons of tragic and deeply pathological love.

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe took place in Barbylonia in 331 BC. A young handsome boy Pyramus and a young beautiful girl Thisbe lived with their parents in conjoining houses. As they grew up to become young adults, they fell in love.

When their parents discovered their love, they refused to let them see each other. The two lovers could only talk through a crack in the wall separating the houses.

One night they planned to run away together. Pyramus told Thisbe the location of the place they would meet.

Thisbe was the first to arrive at the first Mulberry bush outside of the city, but as she was waiting, a lion appeared covered in blood from a previous kill that day. Thisbe, frightened at the sight, ran non-stop to the nearest cave. The lion caught her veil just before she escaped.

Shortly thereafter Pyramus arrived at the Mulberry bush. He was horrified when he saw in the sand the footsteps of the lion and Thisbe’s veil covered in blood and torn to pieces. He immediately thought that his only love had been killed by a hungry lion. Heartbroken he stabbed himself in the heart with his sword.

Thisbe soon got the courage to run back. By then Pyramus was only barely breathing on the ground. In a faint voice he told her what happened, and she cried in sorrow. Then she picked up his sword and jerked it through her chest.

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