Defining the word love is almost impossible. No other word in the English
language has so many different connotations and uses. There can be no one true single
definition. However, for the purpose of this paper, I have come to the following
conclusion. Love is an intense emotion, characterized by unwavering admiration and
caring between two people who consider themselves to be perfect equals in the eyes of
God. To consider oneself a complete equal with another, a deep understanding and
respect of the other person must be developed. There should be no instances of immature
jealousy or pointless wishes. Each person must revere the other for who they are, and
expect nothing more of them. Only when this point has been reached, true love will be
present. As the story begins, Narcissus and Goldmund already have a very special
relationship is growing and changing as the novel goes on.
However, I believe that
neither of them ever really experiences the bonds of unwavering love and equality until
the very end.
The relationship begins innocently enough. Goldmund is a young student, while
Narcissus is his older mentor at the Mariabronn cloister. Goldmund admires the learned
mind and discerning wit of Narcissus, while Narcissus respects the 'strong, delicate
senses' that Goldmund possesses. However, when Narcissus confronts Goldmund with
his gifted observations of him, it is a valid indication of the type of relationship that has
so far grown between them.
'I am superior to you only in one point: I'm awake, whereas you are only half
awake, or completely asleep sometimes... Natures of your kind are almost always
superior to us creatures of the mind... You live fully; you were endowed with the
strength of love, the ability to feel.'
Narcissus clearly feels that there exists a separation between himself and...