Necessary Physical Contant in D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love and Plato's Symposium

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Necessary Physical Contant in D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love and Plato's Symposium D.H. Lawrence’s novel, Women in Love, presents a complex model of female-male and male-male relationships. Lawrence’s model relies heavily on a similar model presented in Plato’s Symposium. The difference between the two works lies in the mode of realization; that is, how one goes about achieving a ‘perfect’ love relationship with either sex. Lawrence concentrates on corporal fulfillment, characterized in his recurring reference to obtaining a “blood oath,” while Plato concentrates on a mental, or “divine” bond. Lawrence’s concentration on corporal fulfillment of love only superficially differs from Plato’s concentration on the mind: both come to the same philosophy of bodily exchange as being a necessary component of relations with either sex. As Barry J. Scherr points out in his article on the relationship between Women in Love and the Symposium, “ ‘Excurse’ [chapter 23] has been recognized by critics as a ‘central chapter’ of Women in Love” (210). The reason for this appraisal is that “Excurse” presents both a realization and articulation of Lawrence’s view of female-male relationships through the characters of Birkin and Ursula. The transmittance, or “Excurse,” comes through bodily exchange: “[Ursula] traced with her hands the line of his loins and thighs … It was a dark flood of electric passion she released from him, drew into herself. She established a rich new circuit … released from the darkest poles of the body and established in perfect circuit” (358). It is through sexual intercourse, or, in the very least, bodily contact, that the connection between Ursula and Birkin is established. Scherr states that “This scene betwe... ... middle of paper ... ...al connection to take place in order to establish a meaningful bond. These bonds, if properly achieved, are the ideal models of relations between the two sexes. Superficial differences between the two works’ philosophies manifest in a difference in importance: Lawrence stresses the physical connection as paramount, while Plato describes that both physical and mental connections are necessary. Works Cited Griffith, Tom, trans. Symposium of Plato. Los Angeles: University of California P, 1989. Hecht, Jamey. Plato's Symposium: Eros and the Human Predicament. New York: Twayne, 1999. Lawrence, D.H. Women in Love. New York: Random House, 1922. Scherr, Barry J. "Lawrence's ‘Dark Flood:’ A Platonic Interpretation of ‘Excurse’" Paunch 64 (1990): 209-246. Strauss, Leo. On Plato's Symposium. Ed. Seth Benardete. Chicago: University of Chicago P, 2001.

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