Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Forbidden Love Of Pyramus And Thisbe

The Ovidian version of Pyramus and Thisbe is a story of two ardent lovers who dwelt in the city of Babylon and occupied adjoining houses which was separated by a wall. Pyramus was a handsome youth while Thisbe was one of the fairest maiden in the whole of Babylon. The proximity of their dwelling place brought these two individuals together which started with acquaintance and ripened into love but due to the rivalry of their parents, they were forbidden to take this relationship to a permanent settlement in marriage.

As love has no boundaries and can cross any limitation, these two lovers could not stop loving one another and their love blossomed and grew with each passing phase of life. They would converse with signs and glances and with the boundaries and restriction laid out by their parents their love intensified all the more for one another. The wall that separated them in the house had a little crack which came up due to some structural fault and the two lovers used this crack in the wall as a means to communicate with one another and whispered their love for each other.

They would send tender messages forward and backward through this crack or gap in the wall as Pyramus stood on one side of the wall while Thisbe stood on the other side. Often they would blame the cruel wall for their separation while at the same time were also grateful to it with the little crack or gap which provided a means of communication and interaction between the two lovers. Those were the precious moments they could share with one another in spite of all the restrictions placed on them by their parents and they made the most of the moments they got to share with one another with the obstruction of the wall between them.

One day they arranged to meet one another at sundown, near Nimus tomb, a well known edifice without any city boundaries, beneath a mulberry trees to declare their love for each other with the instructions that one who arrived first would wait for the other under the mulberry tree and they planned their rendezvous under the white mulberry tree which stood near a cool spring. The meeting was agreed upon and they waited for the appointed time to meet and share wonderful moments with one another.

When the appointed time arrived, Thisbe cautiously stole away unnoticed by her family members with her head covered with a veil and made her way to the scheduled spot to meet Pyramus. She was the first to arrive and so she sat under the tree waiting for her lover to arrive. As she waited in the dim light of the evening she sees a lioness with her mouth covered with blood from her recent hunt and horrified and frightened, she flees away from the spot. In her confused flight to safety, she drops her veil she had worn on the wayside.

The lioness seeing the veil by the wayside tosses and rents it with her bloody mouth leaving it on the trail. When Pyramus having being delayed, arrives at their meeting place, sees the blood rented veil of Thisbe fallen down, presumes that she had been devoured and killed by the wild beast. In his anguish and grief of losing his love, he blames himself for tempting his love to a secluded spot and not being around to guard her in moments of distress and being the cause of her death. He takes up the veil and carries it to their appointed spot of meeting covering it with kisses and tears saying that his blood will also stain the texture of her veil and drawing his sword plunges it into his heart.

His blood from his wound is splashed all around the white mulberry leaves and the mulberries fruits, turning them red while by this time Thisbe trembling with fear though eager to meet him and not wishing to disappoint her lover, arrives at their meeting spot. At first she is perplexed on seeing the white mulberry leaves turned to red and is further aghast on seeing the Tyramus lying in a pool of blood beneath the tree. She shudders and cries in pain and sorrow seeing her lover dying before her eyes and helpless to do anything to save him and hearing her voice, Pyramus momentarily opens and closes his eyes. 

Thisbe notices her blood stain veil and the missing sword from its scabbard and understands the cause of his death. She in her turn blames herself for being the cause of his death through the trail of the veil left behind during her flight to safety. She vows to follow him even in death and taking the sword she kills herself joining her lover Pyramus even in death. The scenario here is full of love, pain, helplessness and the desire to be one even in times of death showing the power and strength of love in life as well as in death.


  1. Oh! Such a sad tale...Truly 'power and strength of love in life as well as in death'...

  2. Interesting stuff! Thank you for this post


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