Mankind seems to have a fascination with stories of romance, especially tragic romances. Sure, the stories with happy beginnings along with happy endings get a little attention, but true romance, once in a lifetime love where the two lovers must overcome great obstacles in order to be together are much more likely to get made into a modern day mini-series.
Nearly everyone has heard the tale of King Arthur and Lancelot, and their love of the beautiful Queen, Guinevere. But there are actually many lesser known, romances centered upon the Knights of the Round Table, and their kin.
In one tale, that of Tristan and Isolt, Tristan (a nephew to King Arthur) falls in love with the beautiful queen, Isolt. Isolt’s husband, Mark (also related to King Arthur), is very jealous, and vows to have Tristan killed. King Arthur and Gawain set out to capture Tristan, who has stolen away with his lover, and return Isolt to her husband. Now in some tales the couple lives happily ever after, after an intercession by King Arthur, but in other tales the two lovers each die of a broken heart.
In the tale of Melora and Orlando, Melora, daughter of King Arthur (yes, he had a daughter!) fell in love with Prince Orlando of Thessaly. Naturally the beautiful and clever princess had many suitors, one of which was quite upset when he discovered her love for the Prince. This knight went to Merlin and begged for help and the two conspired to kidnap Orlando and hold him prisoner in an enchanted castle. After a series of difficult tasks, Melora was able to free the Prince and the two lived happily ever after.
King Arthur was also known to have broken a few hearts. In one tale, the great King traveled forth from Camelot to help defend another kingdom against an evil knight. After he kills the evil knight he is rewarded by the company of the Lady of the Blonde Hair. Naturally the lady falls deeply in love with him, but alas, Arthur has other duties and must leave her.
Why is mythology filled with tales of broken hearts and ill-fated lovers? Perhaps it’s to remind us that we should never settle for anything less than amazing. Great love encourages us to reach our full potential and inspires us to always do our very best. When we are filled with great passion, whether it’s for another person or the attainment of a life long dream, love gives us strength to go forth with our heart and soul.