I hope that all you lovely DDers are celebrating this Valentine's Day in happy, stable relationships - or happy, stable singledom! As for me, I love a good (fictional) love triangle. What's the point of a love story if it's not unnecessarily complicated, right? Here are some of my favourite love triangles from throughout the ages!
Christine + Raoul + Erik - The Phantom of the Opera
This book is about as close as my personal library gets to those guilty pleasure romance novels, and I love it to bits. Erik - the Opera Ghost - is a sadistic, disfigured monster of a man who manipulates and kills without remorse. But he is also Christine's teacher and muse, a musical genius tutoring her as the personified “angel of music” that her deceased father promised to send from heaven. Raoul risks life and limb to protect Christine from falling into the clutches of the Phantom.
Personally I think Raoul is a bit of a square, but that's just me.
Helen + Menelaus + Paris - Greek Mythology
The face that launched a thousand ships! According the the legend, Helen was the result of the princess Leda's affair with Zeus, who had taken the form of a swan. The most beautiful woman in the world, the great King Menelaus eventually won her hand in marriage. However, she was also promised to Paris by the Goddess Aphrodite and was ultimately abducted by (or ran away with) him. Thus the Trojan War was launched, giving us the great epics The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Archie + Betty + Veronica - Archie Comics
Even though this is the newest example on my list, it somehow feels like the “classic” love triangle. Betty is the sweet, smart girl next door. Veronica is the beautiful, unattainable rich girl. Both are inexplicably interested in totally average Archie Andrews. Misunderstandings and hilarity ensue, providing enough material for decades of comics. Fun fact: Archie has married both girls in alternative timelines. Check out Archie issues #600-605!
Hermia + Lysander + Demetrius + Helena - A Midsummer Night's Dream
A love…square? Hermia is in love with Lysander, but is being forced to marry Demetrius. Meanwhile Helena is in love with Demetrius, who does not love her. Helena goes so far as to betray Hermia in an effort to gain his affection. Through a magical mix-up, both men fall in love with Helena, who doesn't believe either of them. This is probably the most complicated triangle on this list. A Midsummer Night's Dream is a great introduction to Shakespeare, though, and is much more enjoyable than Romeo and Juliet in my opinion.
Ilsa + Victor + Rick - Casablanca
Ilsa admires Victor - a leader of the Czech resistance and a concentration camp survivor - but can't forget her passion for Rick when they meet unexpectedly in Casablanca, en route to America. As is seemingly often the case in older stories, Ilsa doesn't get to make the final decision determining her romantic future.
I think I'm a bit of an oddball in the world of Casablanca fans in thinking that Victor was clearly the right choice. I have had heated debates on this topic.
Pop culture and literature feature countless other love triangles, from the complicated Lois Lane/Clark Kent/Superman quasi-triangle to the classic Guienevere/King Arthur/Lancelot relationship. What are your favourite love triangles? Or do you think this is a trope that's totally played out? Leave your comments below!
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HippieVan at 12:00AM, Feb. 13, 2015
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