Arnon Grunberg

You must love me


Today, my students at Wageningen University and I read a chapter from “Don Quixote”.
In chapter 14 Marcela says: “I know, by the understanding which God has given me, that whatever is beautiful is amiable; but I cannot conceive that the object beloved for its beauty is obliged to return love for love. Besides, it may happen, that the lover is a deformed and ugly person; and, being on that account an object of disgust, it would seem inconsistent to say I love you for your beauty; you must love me although I’m ugly.”

We discussed whether a beautiful object is always beloved for its beauty.
Of course some students said: “The real human beauty is inside.”

I asked: “Can we really desire something that is ugly?”

A student said: “Kindness makes people beautiful.”

I said: “So kindness is the make-up we wear to seduce and to deceive our poor lovers. Shouldn’t we return love for love out of kindness?”