13 May 2009

Sartre's Orestes

You are right. No hatred; but no love, either. You, Electra, I might have loved. And yet—I wonder! Love or hatred calls for self-surrender. He cuts a fine figure, the warm-blooded, prosperous man, solidly entrenched in his well-being, who one fine day surrenders all to love—or to hatred; himself, his house, his land, his memories. But who am I, and what have I to surrender? I'm a mere shadow of a man; of all of the ghosts haunting this town to-day none is ghostlier than I. The only loves I've known were phantom loves, rare and vacillating as will-o'-the-wisps.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Mouches (1969: 56)