The “Madness” Of Love Is Heaven’s Greatest Blessing?
Not really. Popular stories through the ages have associated love with insanity, suicidality, and tragedy.
Fairytales, ancient legends and myths, and folkloric traditions have sung the tales of men and women who have tragically descended into madness, thanks to unrequited love.
These characters have formed the crux of the literary genre of “romance” ballads and
have defined or re-defined by their tragedies and insanity the powerful meaning and significance of love.
The most famous of tragic lovers is Shakespeare’s “Lovers from Fair Verona” Romeo and Juliet. Driven to grief over the death of each other, they commit suicide.
The Indian tale of “Heer Ranjha” talks of two separated lovers who, mad in passion, committed suicide.
The “Layla-Majnun” theme in Islamic folklore explores insanity in the wider framework of adultery, erotic attraction to the beloved, unfulfillable longing, grief, and suicidality.
These stories, however beloved, have cemented the popular stereotype of the “demented” lover driven to irrationality by love.
Several religious traditions also speak of the association between insanity and pious devotion.
Medieval European traditions and the Indian “Bhakti” traditions use the word “mad” or “crazy” in recognition of insanity as a significant element in intense spirituality.
Historical records show that several medieval saints, both men and women, displayed wild frenzy, an abundance of obsessive devotion and “divine love” for a deity, as well as an inclination to commit suicide to attain spiritual salvation.