"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Monday, January 12, 2004
Diamonds of a Harlequin
pa-thos Function: noun
Etymology: Greek, suffering, experience, emotion, from paschein (aorist pathein) to experience, suffer; perhaps akin to Lithuanian kesti to suffer
1 : an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion
2 : an emotion of sympathetic pity
3 : the stock in trade of a Harlequin
I've decided what I want on my tattoo.
Well, it will be a while before I can get it, since I have yet to even get the boss to discuss it with me, but eventually I'll get her to come around.
Anyways, the tattoo will be a representation of the comedia del arte. Which of course begs the question, what the heck is a comedia del arte?
Ah, I was hoping you would ask that.
The comedia del arte was a stage production in Italy in the 16th through 18th century. (Hang on, I promise this won't be boring!) The production spawned stage productions throughout Europe called "Harlequinades." One of the hallmarks of these productions was that the scripts were improvised on the fly. Another was the presence of the character "Arlecchino," later known as Harlequin or Harliquin.
In a Harlequinade, there would usually be a love triangle involving the following characters:
Columbine, who was the very vision of beauty and grace itself. Think of the prettiest, most graceful and vivacious girl you ever saw. That's her.
Pierrot, or Pedrolino, who is a person hopelessly in love with Columbine. Sadly, his love will not be returned. He is portrayed as a clown and a buffoon. In a way, laughing at Pierrot is a cruel pastime, but humans have always enjoyed things like that.
And finally, the capricious and captivating Harliquin, who steals Columbine's heart because he is completely irresistable. Frequently, even though the Harliquin would also love Columbine in return, he would treat those around him, such as his friend Pierrot, heartlessly. As the years passed, this trait in his character pretty much vanished, leaving him as a witty, nimble romantic.
A nimble romantic who gets the girl. What a concept.
So anyways, the tattoo will be Harlequin in the front, and behind him will be Columbine and Pierrot, one on each side.
I figure it'll look cool.
I see a lot of myself in the Harliquin. He may be heartless at times (he can't help it), but he does show deep compassion, particularly in his later incarnations (which is another thing we have in common, come to think of it.) He wants to be the center of attention, and I find myself doing that as well.
His outfit is always diamond patterned, representing his capricious nature.
Hey, I'm bipolar. That's as capricious as it gets.
I also see a lot of myself in Pierrot as well, the sadness, the depth of emotion, the compassion and love given unasked for. Yes, I can see through his eyes as well.
And Columbine... How many times have I seen you, dear lover?
More on this later. For now, enjoy the dance.
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania.
Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967), Not So Deep as a Well (1937), "Comment"