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Please explain the quote, "You don't love someone because they're perfect.  You love...

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wittmoe | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2009 at 3:31 AM via web

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Please explain the quote, "You don't love someone because they're perfect.  You love them in spite of the fact they're not".

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mrpoirier | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 26, 2009 at 6:42 AM (Answer #1)

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This is a very interesting idea and one that has been stated in many different ways. I think it is fair to say that no one is perfect. It is simply a fact that people have flaws. Like anything, you have to take the good with the bad. I think, however, that this quotation has to do with the spectrum of positive to negative. If no one is perfect, then there is no possibility of loving them for that reason. Therefore, it is necessary to look at someone's qualities and decide if you love them even though they are not perfect.

I love my siblings.  There are certain things that they do that I may not agree with, but I love them enough to overlook, or at least put up with, their flaws.

The same can be said of romantic love.  If the positive qualities outweigh the negative qualities to an overwhelming extent, then there is the possibility of love.  Shakespeare speaks of this in his Sonnet 130.  He writes of his "mistress" or love interest in a very interesting way.  For example, he writes,” My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;/Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;."  This is an interesting way to speak about one's love interest.  One would expect the poet to praise his love as having eyes as bright as the sun and would expect her lips to be compared to something red and lovely like a rose or a ripe apple.  Instead, this love speaks about her eyes being "nothing like the sun" and he compares her lips to coral.  He is speaking about her flaws.  However, in spite of these shortcomings, he is still completely taken with his beloved.  Later in the poem the speaker writes, “And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare/As any she belied with false compare."  It's that "and yet" that makes the poem touching and true to life.  It also makes it relevant to your question.  This speaker spends the majority of the poem explaining all of the shortcomings of his lover.  However, he loves her in spite of the fact that she has these shortcomings.  It is the willingness to accept one another’s faults that truly decides if love can persist.

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