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The Power of Love and Passion

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What is “Love”? In today’s world “love” is a commonly used term, referring to what think is just a relationship based on affection for another person or liking something a lot; but what does “love” actually mean. Love has so many levels of complexity than people believe it to have. The ancient Greeks saw this complexity and believed that love could be split into four words that embodied what, love was thought to mean. These words were Agape, meaning general affection or a deeper sense of true love unlike Eros, Eros referred to romance and passionate love or intimate love, Philia was the love of friendship and Storge is natural affection, such as the love felt between parents and their offspring. In this I will be taking a deeper look into these four powerful words for love. Agape is one of the Koine words from ancient Greece translated to mean love. It was adopted into Christianity as the love of God or Christ for all of humankind and in return mankind’s love for God.

Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional and thoughtful love. Agape has been used in a wide variety of ancient and modern texts. In the bible there is an entire section in the bible dedicated to Agape, Greek philosophers at the time of Plato and other ancient authors have used the word and its variants to denote the love of a spouse or family, or affection for a particular activity. Modern author, Thomas Jay Oord has define agape as “an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being.” In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio displayed a form of this love when he duels Tybalt and sacrifices himself to save Romeo from Tybalt’s murderous intentions. Eros another form of the word love in Greek, referred to intimate love or romantic love. Eros is a love based almost completely around passion, sensual desire and longing although it does not have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than Philia, the love of friendship.

It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage. Plato refined his own definition: “Although Eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself.” Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of Eros. In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet displayed this type of love. Philia the third Greek word for love, described the love of friendship. It denoted a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity as well as love between lovers. It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. In ancient texts. Aristotle divided friendships in to three types.

Friendships of utility are relationships formed without regard to the other person at all. In modern English, people in such a relationship would not even be called friends. At the next level, friendships of pleasure are based on pure delight in the company of other people. People who drink together or share a hobby may have such friendships. Friendships of the good are ones where both friends enjoy each other’s characters. As long as both friends keep similar characters, the relationship will endure since the motive behind it is care for the friend. This is the highest level of Philia, and in modern English might be called true friendship. Not all bonds of Philia involves reciprocity Aristotle notes. Some examples of these might include love of father to son, elder to younger or ruler to subject. Generally though, the bonds of Philia are symmetrical. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Mercutio’s friendship displayed Philia. Storge the fourth and final type of Greek words for love also known as familial love, refers to natural affection.

An example of this love is the paternal love between parents and their offspring. Storge may be used as a general term to describe the love between exceptional friends, and the desire for them to care compassionately for one another. Another interpretation is for Storge to be used to describe a sexual relationship between two people that gradually grew out of a friendship, Storgic lovers sometimes cannot pinpoint the moment that friendship turned to love. Storgic lovers are friends first, and the friendship can endure even beyond the breakup of the sexual relationship. Storgic lovers place much importance on commitment, and find that their motivation to avoid committing infidelity is to preserve the trust between the two partners.

Children and marriage are seen as legitimate forms of their bond, while sex is of lesser importance than in other love styles. This type of love was seen in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet and her Nurse shared this type of relationship as Juliet had been brought up by her Nurse. In conclusion, love is thing that is far too complex to place a definition on. The ancient Greeks saw this and made the four words for love to give a better explanation into loves many aspects and its many complexities. Love is not just a shallow word, for the things that it is used for in the modern world. Shakespeare showed many different types of love in his many plays, in Romeo and Juliet he used the examples of the four Greek words for love. This showed that there is more to love than just affection, it refers to almost all types of relationships. No one can place an actual definition on what love is truly is, no can explain what it is, it is just that is there a primal instinct.

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