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HAPPY ENDINGS – Chapter Four

Classical Literature

HAPPY ENDINGS – Chapter Four

“Young couple in a rural tavern” by Giacomo Francesco Cipper

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

The other men felt a great upwelling of feeling as Don Giovanni spoke. They realized that they should be loyal to their ideals of true love and monogamy, even if their wives were untamed shrews. On the other hand, they couldn’t deny there was a bitter truth in the words of the well-known libertine. Romeo was about to deliver a speech defending his ideals, when Leporello addressed his lord:

Señor, the person you were expecting awaits you in your chamber.

– Ah, about time! – answered Don Giovanni. Excuse me, gentlemen. Business calls me. We will finish our debate some other time.

Don Giovanni left for his room, but Romeo was curious, and he said to his friends:

– I wish to find out who this mysterious visitor is who wants to talk privately with Don Giovanni.
Edgar said:

– Romeo, eavesdropping is a very ungentlemanly form of conduct. This is none of our business. I suggest we have another shot. Rama, what does soma taste like?

– Stronger than ten whiskies, Edgar – answered Rama.

Ah hae me doots, laddie! – answered the Scotsman, laughing. Let’s go!

– I wish to give it a try as well. I doubt if it is stronger than the wines we have in wide-wayed Troy – answered Paris.

Ah, young people! While his companions were asking for another shot, Romeo couldn’t overcome his curiosity and went up to the door of the room in which Don Giovanni was talking to the mysterious character. Romeo was astonished when he looked through the keyhole and saw a small figure, a dwarf perhaps! But when he looked more carefully, he saw a blind, winged child with bow and arrow. He had no doubt who this was. He ran back to his companions, yelling:

– Gentlemen! Companions in misery and everlasting melancholy! Don Giovanni’s guest is none other than Amor, Eros, Cupid, or whatever you wish to call him. Let’s attack!

At this moment, all four characters shouted in unison “One for all, all against love!” In their wild excitement, they broke down the door, to Don Giovanni and Cupido’s great surprise. Paris was the first to speak:

– There you are! Scoundrel, criminal, a thousand times cursed! Do you know what I have been through because of you? I will execute you the same way Achilles did Hector. I will kill you, then bind your body to my chariot and expose you daily to all the world’s married men to prove their misfortunes are over!
– Cause of my woes! – said Romeo – I wish you had never been born! Cursed be the mother who gave you birth! My life was so good before I was shot by your arrows. I will remove every one of your feathers and then cut off a certain part of your anatomy. Then I will put you on the rack or in the iron maiden. You will suffer a slow and painful death, giving you time to think about the evils you have caused mankind!

– Ill-starred son of Aphrodite, I don’t wish to give you a quick and painless death either. Your execution will be according to the English tradition: hanged, drawn and quartered, as they did to our hero William Wallace! – said Edgar, with hatred.

– Insane brat, worst of all Greek, Roman and Vedic gods – said Rama – you will face a destiny worse than death itself. You will be taken to the kingdom of Yama where you will suffer the worst tortures ever and won’t be able to reincarnate!

Cupid, fearing for his life, started to cry and beg:

– Mercy, gentlemen, please don’t hurt me! By all the gods, Don Giovanni, for the sake of our old friendship, save me from these madmen!

– I’m sorry – said Don Giovanni — You are my best supplier, Cupid, but I can’t do anything against three men and a Hindu god. It was a great pleasure meeting you, and I hope you will mention my name in your will.

Cupid did his best to steel himself and, looking attentively at each of his would-be executioners, provided his best defense:

– Gentlemen, I know I’ve caused enormous pain to gods and men alike, but shouldn’t you hear what I have to say before you condemn me to a gruesome death?

– It’s true, my friends – said Rama – We cannot condemn someone without giving him an opportunity to defend himself. Besides I have questions for this nefarious child. For starters, why have we been forgotten by the world?

Cupid prepared to give an explanation worthy of chaired professors of literary theory.

– Gentlemen, if I understand correctly, you all had happy endings and were forgotten by the public, right? I will explain the reason. At the moment a tragedy takes place, a series of emotions emerge in whoever watches the fatal scene in which the characters die for love. The spectator revolts against society, whose social conventions prevented the couple from being happy, causing their death. It’s as if the spectator’s inner voice were saying “Why is it these two lovers cannot live a great life together? It’s because of you, hypocritical society!” It’s a heroic death, my friends, that immortalizes their love. The spectator starts picturing the blissful moments the lovers would have shared had they not died so young. The laughter brought about by comedy or melodrama lasts only seconds; on the other hand, the pathos generated by a good tragedy is eternal. That’s how lovers like Tristan and Isolde were immortalized. It’s a pity your creators decided to give you happy endings!

– Wise words, Cupid – said Edgar. Now I understand why I was forgotten by the public. However, my sentence remains unchanged. Rebus sic stantibus! Let’s execute him, comrades!

– That’s right! Let’s kill him and humanity will never again suffer for love!

– Gentemen, – answered Cupid – I know I cause a lot of trouble. Why do you think I come here to drink? Still, it’s too easy to blame me for everything. Humanity has always been like this. There are inscriptions in Pompeii written by someone threatening to break my wings and hit my back with a stick, but my arrows are not that powerful. The gods gave you enough free will to decide when to fall in love. It’s up to you to fall under the power of my bow or not. Besides, admit it: don’t you think mankind would lose something essential without me? Life would be so boring if I didn’t exist! What would become of literature? If Petrarch and Catullus had not fallen under the power of my arrows, would they have written so many beautiful poems to Laura and Lesbia, respectively?

– I totally agree – said Don Giovanni.

– Shut up, Giovanni! – said Romeo – We have already decided that you will lose your best supplier. I saw you bribing this despicable child to have more women fall in love with you. Next time, try and be your own cupid for your adventures with the fairer sex. Onwards, comrades! Grab him!

Cupid was shaking with fear. Out of options, he invoked the help of a powerful supernatural being:

– Come to me, Belfagor and thine army! I summon thee!

Are you curious what will come of Belfagor? Will the story end in a bloody battle or a happy ending? Find out next week!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
André Bastos Gurgel
André Bastos Gurgel, OAB (Order of Attorneys of Brazil), Academic Advisor for the Carmenta Online Latin School, is a life-long student of both modern and ancient languages. Mr. Gurgel is fluent in English, Portuguese, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Latin (the last of which he learned with Carmenta) and has a working knowledge of Danish, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. Mr. Gurgel is currently studying Old English through Carmenta as well.

Click here to read Mr. Gurgel’s full profile.

 

 

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