Comparing the Different Ways That Love Is Used as a Theme in the Merchant of Venice and a Thousand Splendid Suns

The love, and it’s multiple guises have been long thought about throughout the ages by great thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle and Thomas Aquinus, The ancient Greek society had four main types of love, these being: Eros, Agape, Philia and Storge. Words which show that love can be more than just a romantic or physical love.

Philia is a mental love, it is dispassionate and virtuous and is a main theme in A Thousand Splendid Suns with other types of love barely getting a mention, this is shown in part 1 of the book with Mariam’s love of the visitors that visit her farm, Bibi jo, Mullah Faizullah etc. however it could be argued that Mariam loves these visitors because of her love for the outside world, and they are a link to it, he tells “Mariam stories of all the things that he had seen in his youth,” Mariam clings to these stories as her childhood has had no such excitement. Hosseini also tempts the idea of storge - affection -   love at the beginning of the novel, for Mariam by her father Jalil, “Jalil said that she was his little flower, he was fond of her sitting on his lap”, however we later learn that this is insincere, with Jalil refusing her entry into his home, which emphasises the fact that Mariam only feels philia love throughout the novel.

Philio love can also be described as brotherly love which is a key interaction between Antonio and Bassanio in The Merchant Of Venice. This is the love spoken by Salanio when he reveals the depth of Antonio’s love for Bassanio “I think he loves the world of him” which means that Antonio loves everything about Bassanio rather than loving him in a homoerotic way, however in The Merchant of Venice Antonio is in competition with Portia for Bassanio’s affection, despite them both loving him in different ways. When Bassanio describes Antonio as “The dearest friend to me” Portia realises the competition. This shows the different forms of love to be equally valued to Bassanio and that all forms of love are equally...