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The Unrealistic Portrayal of True Love
Why is true love presented so unrealistically in some literature and visual media?

True love in the Western world - to borrow Denis de Rougemont's useful term - has come to mean, in the popular imagination, many different things. It is something that is pure and innocent, utter faithful and never questionable, perfect and unchanging - an elementary part of our human lives that posses such tangible strength, it can ‘conquer all'. Yet, if true love is really what literature and visual media portray it to be, this instant and permanent, indescribable emotional connection between two people, why does it so often end in tragedy and why do we see so many divorces? If true love is all what Perrault's narrative Sleeping Beauty, and William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 quintessentially portray it to be, why haven't I ‘fallen into love at first sight', ‘married after one dance', and thus ‘lived happily ever after'? The fact is, that I, like many others, have succumbed to the unrealistic portrayal of true love in literature and visual media, believing that it is this instant and permanent element, and thus given myself unrealistic expectations.

The development of this polar view towards true love in literature began during the time of Shakespeare, whose works proclaimed the "instancy and permanency of true love to the human condition" (Sparknotes, 2007). Being the true romantic that he was, much of Shakespeare's works were dedicated to exploring what he considered the fundamental characteristics and attributes of true love. His Sonnet 116 explores the view that true love is indeed forever permanent and unchanging, proclaiming that it is the "marriage of true minds" and does not "admit impediments". This first quatrain asserts that true love is immortal, perfect and unchanging; it neither changes on its own nor allows itself to be changed, even when we encounter change in those we love. In describing true love as being this perfect...
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