Till We Have Faces

by C. S. Lewis

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In Till We Have Faces, what does Ansit imply by telling Orual she knows nothing of love?

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This encounter between Ansit and Orual comes after Bardia has died, and Orual has admitted that he was the one man she truly loved. When she admits this truth to Ansit, who was Bardia's wife in his lifetime, Ansit talks to Orual of what true love is, as demonstrated through her love for her husband and how she let him become more and more involved in the work of his queen. Orual is not able to understand by Ansit would sit back and let her husband become so involved in his work that she begins to be displaced. A simple word from Ansit to Orual would have prevented this. Ansit replies to Orual:

Tell you? And so take away from him his work, which was his life... and all his glory and his great deeds? Make a child and a dotard of him? Keep him to myself at that cost? Make him so mine that he was no longer his?

For Orual, love is a selfish thing that does not allow others to be who they truly are, as reflected in her love of Psyche, her sister. Ansit realises that to love somebody is to free them to be who they truly are. She says that Bardia was her "husband, not my house-dog." To love him was to let him go and expend his energies in what he wanted to do. This is the love that Orual knows nothing of, because it is a love that is defined by sacrifice and self-giving.

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