Why Does Love Conquer All?
We’ve all heard it time and time again that “love conquers all.” It’s rampant throughout romantic comedies, novels, and television shows. It’s easy to say that everyone wants a happy ending, but is there more to it?
First, let’s begin with the origin of this phrase. The phrase, omnia vincit amor, can be traced back to the works of the Roman poet Virgil who influenced the likes of Keats and Shakespeare. Virgil was considered by many to have prophesied the birth of Christ the Messiah with his 4th Eclogue, which told the tale of the coming of a little boy who would restore order to the world. This made the works of this “pagan poet” much more appealing to the Christians who would later read his works.
Continuing with the Messianic theme, the prevalent theme of Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament is love. In Mark 12:30-3, Christ tells his followers, 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]There is no commandment greater than these.” In Christianity, this commandment is above the Ten Commandments given to Moses. This isn’t to say that those should be disregarded, but there is no way to honor those commandments without keeping this one given by Christ. Without love in your heart, one cannot keep from coveting, hating, killing, stealing, or committing the other sins against man and God. Continuing through Scripture, we come to the end with the Christian’s apocalyptic message found in the Book of Revelation. In the end, God will triumph over Satan. This is perhaps the most important scenarios of love conquering all, because we are told in John 4:8 that “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Because God is love and God defeats Satan, then love conquers all. This is the obvious desired outcome for all of humanity because no one, regardless of religious preferences, wants to live in a world of pure evil with no light or hope within it.
Moving along to authors influenced by Virgil’s works, we have the likes of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was also influenced by the works of the Roman poet Ovid. In Metamorphoses, Ovid tells the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe which tells a similar tale. Where would modern romance be today without the romantic tragedy of Romeo and Juliet? While he was not the original creator of this story, his influence on the works that followed is immense. How many books would have never been written without the inspiration of this play? How many movies would never exist without this foundation? We all know the story of these lovers who never seem to catch a break and end up killing themselves because they believe that the other is dead. While these two star-crossed lovers do not get their happy ending, their death reconciles their feuding families. The love that they could not share in this world carried over to their families, driving away the hatred that they felt for one another. Even in the end of this tragedy, love did conquer all.
And, finally, we simply have human nature and the way things are in this world. Rational or not, most people have a fear of the dark – it represents dark, sinister, and evil things. Light represents love, happiness, and things that are good in the world. Going back to our Shakespeare reference, Romeo describes Juliet as being “like the sun” and “brighter than a torch”. It’s only natural that we would want to be in the light. In most horror movies, the monsters disappear when the sun comes up. We want the darkness to end and to be in the light.