All is Fair in Love and War

Cervantes takes up this proverb in Part II, chapter 21 of Don Quixote.  The context for the chapter 21 is given in chapter 19 where Don Quixote and Sancho meet a group of students who are on the way to the wedding of the beautiful Quiteria to the rich Camacho.  The maiden is marrying entirely for money, leaving her jilted and faithful suitor, Basilio behind.  Read chapter 21 with a particular note for the following:

“Hold, sirs, hold!” cried Don Quixote in a loud voice; “we have no right to take vengeance for wrongs that love may do to us: remember love and war are the same thing, and as in war it is allowable and common to make use of wiles and stratagems to overcome the enemy, so in the contests and rivalries of love the tricks and devices employed to attain the desired end are justifiable, provided they be not to the discredit or dishonour of the loved object.

Now please take the poll and give your reason in the comment section.  (There’s a method to my madness.  It’s all about chivalry).

8 thoughts on “All is Fair in Love and War

  1. Hmm, I take it you are talking about TRUE Love, which is indeed Sacrificial. So the war lies (in regards to love) against the selfish interests of our lower fallen nature, so the battle of ever waging.

    And war? Well, I’m of Norman Decent… instead of a rattle, my father gave me a mace in the crib! 😉

  2. Maybe I’m stupid, but I don’t agree with Don Quixote. Love is a decision that is made of the intellect. Requiring no “tricks and devices employed to attain the desired end”. One either loves another or one doesn’t. And one cannot force another to love the first. It’s all free will, thus we are able (and commanded) to love our enemies.
    In that sense, I guess that one could say that all is fair, since we are required to love despite any wrongs done unto us. But to wrong another would not be love, and hence would not be fair to the other. It’s more nuanced…..

  3. False. I can’t stand all this rules of war and fighting. In one on one engagement, their may be rules which are pre-agreed on. However, think about it! You are trying to kill someone. Eradicate their life. How is that fair? It’s doesn’t matter how. Or how fair! And what can I say about love? One word. Dono.

  4. Well, I finally had a chance to read all of this! I had to choose ‘it is more nuanced than that’ because rarely are things that black and white to me. (FAther, you mentioned that it’s all about chivalry … so can women voice their opinion? 🙂 )

    In Ch. 19, we read:

    If all those who love one another were to marry,” said Don Quixote,
    “it would deprive parents of the right to choose, and marry their
    children to the proper person and at the proper time; and if it was
    left to daughters to choose husbands as they pleased, one would be for
    choosing her father’s servant, and another, some one she has seen
    passing in the street and fancies gallant and dashing, though he may
    be a drunken bully; for love and fancy easily blind the eyes of the
    judgment, so much wanted in choosing one’s way of life; and the
    matrimonial choice is very liable to error, and it needs great caution
    and the special favour of heaven to make it a good one.

    This states that love is blind … sometimes others can see more clearly what will make a good marriage for us than what we can see for ourselves! It requires the special favor from heaven and we must pray for that and keep our eyes wide open. Easier said than done! Could go on forever here. Doesn’t have to do with Father’s quote, but I liked it!

    The quote Father gave above is tricky. The first thing that came to my mind was that the end doesn’t justify the means. Therefore, being dishonest to win something in the end has not won it honorably. Yet, it seems most wars are fought with a smidge of deceptive tactics and is it possible to win without that? I don’t know. I suppose in love there is always a bit of deception as well. Few of us want to show ALL of our true colors during the courting phase. Is that deceptive? Hmmm.

    Not having read the book and only having read the two chapters that were referred to us, I do not know if the fair maiden was in on this ploy or not. Chapter 21 leaves this unanswered. Perhaps she felt trapped into a disaster and saw no way out and marrying someone you don’t love for pure materialism isn’t a godly thing. It’s hard to understand the life of that era …. today, many would tell their parents ‘No Way’ and go elope. Back then, this was not possible.

    So … if Quiteria was totally in on the hoax, I feel a smidge better about it. Is it completely honorable from a chivalrous standpoint? I don’t see how but it surely showed in the end that Camacho had no love for her. So maybe it took deception to show deception. (I can’t see Christ in this, unfortunately, but I can sure see mere humanity in it!)

    Soooo Father Angelo, pray tell, what is your evaluation of this??

  5. One can never commit an evil act for an eventual good. That is the root of all Catholic morality. No!

    Tempting though it may be, one can not violate the commandments (even in war). I will admit there are gray areas to this in war… (especially when it comes to defending the life of the innocent) and that is what the confessional is about. And the principle of proportionality which guides the “just war” theory is connected to this.

    Also… war is a punishment for sin. There are no real parallels between love and war.

  6. They state that using tricks and devices employed to attain the desired end are justifiable. I have to disagree! The slithering serpant used tricks and devices in the garden of eden to attain his desires. Would you call that justifiable? Certainly NOT! Is love and war far? If there was love there would be no war. War is brought upon us because of mans lack of love.

  7. Pingback: All Is Not Fair in Love and War « Mary Victrix

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