To comprehend the unfaltering love of Victor Frankl, we must understand his circumstances. There is no way we can step into his shoes to experience his tragedies, but his vivid descriptions help us vicariously relive his tribulation. He opens a window into his world, and we can actually see the scenes he paints for us. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles, he says (348).
It is difficult to put ourselves in his position of despair. Being forced to do things, in abominable conditions, against our will when our lives depend on it is not something we, as modern Americans, know much about. It may be more difficult to understand how he keeps his hope alive. Frankl clings to the one thing even the Nazis could not take away from him. The love for his wife was a bond even death could not erase.
There was no need for me to know; nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved, Frankl writes (349). I think it is wonderful how he can recall his wifes face amidst the chaos around him. He exhibits great discipline in a place of desolation. He has an optimistic approach to the hardships of the day.
When the others are moping about, he still thinks about her. In addition, his thoughts take him away from any physical pain he may be experiencing. Even though he is lovelorn, he has the ability to drift to another world though his love (349). What words can describe a love like Frankls John Alan Lee writes a typology on different kinds of love. Looking at a few types, we can see qualities that characterize Frankls love. A touch of eros is apparent, because Frankl can remember what his wife looks like.
He describes her smile and look. Her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise (Frankl 348). Maybe when they first saw each other, there was a physical attraction. It was probably not an infatuation with looks, because he imagines a conversation with her They had a very strong relationship, so it is dissimilar to eros in that respect. Furthermore, it would definitely not have ludic qualities that are more fleeting (Lee 302-303). Store love would most likely be the closet type to their love.
Lee describes falling into storgic love, with the passage of time and the enjoyment of shared activities (305). He also mentions how some people based their love on friendship and companionship. I believe this is the love Frankl and his wife felt when they were together. A man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved (Frankl 348-349). Even when they were separated from each other, it was a sweet love that Frankl had to get him through that incorrigible time.
Also characterized by storgic love, is the incredible strength of the bond. Even when the lovers are apart from each other, it does not stress the relationship as much as other types. Lee gives us the example of Ulysses and Penelope (305). Even though Ulysses had not seen his wife inten years and had been told she was dead, he still used all his strength to get back home. I am of the opinion that Frankls love for his wife was this strong. It did not matter whether his wife was dead or not.
Had I known then that my wife was dead, I think that I would still have given myself, undisturbed by that knowledge, to the contemplation of her image... (Frankl 349). The love was truly admirable that they had for each other. At the same time, I do not think their love was a mania.
He did not experience despair from her absence; instead, it gave him hope. However, if we throw in a bit of agape love, I think this well describes different aspects of Frankls great love for his wife. Lee defines agape as, a generous, unselfish, giving of oneself (309). The affection Frankl and his wife had for each other was probably like this. I can imagine him doing little things around the house for her that showed how much he cared. I twas certainly a love they shared equally.
Finally, it would seem to me Frankls noble love was scarce. Working inthe cold ditches everyday must have psychologically then physically killed many men. Those who had no family had nothing to hope for. They didnt have an image or memory that could take them away from their surroundings. The lucky ones that had wives and children could dream about being with them someday. Where would Frankl be if he did not have his wife The heartaches experienced by the people were truly tragic.
Fortunately, Frankl had a love Death itself could not kill. Works Cited Frankl, Victor. Love in a Concentration Camp. Reading, Writing, and the Humanities.
Ed. JoRay McCuen and Anthony C. Winkler. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc. , 1991. 347-349.
Lee, John A. The Styles of Loving. Reading, Writing, and the Humanities. Ed.
JoRay McCuen and Anthony C. Winkler. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc. , 1991. 299-311.