The Greatest Love Stories of all Time
The inspirational love stories of lovers, who overcame, held together against all odds, offer us all hope, and affirm our faith in true romance. Others relationships have ended in tragedy, making us deeply sad, and yet still teach us invaluable lessons on life, giving us timeless nuggets of wisdom. Love can change our lives; it can itself change over time, and alter the course of history.
Let’s look at some inspirational love stories and see what lessons we can glean from them.
This is no doubt one of the most famous and greatest love stories. This couple have, in fact, become a sort of synonym for love. The love between Romeo and Juliet is tragic and one of William Shakespeare’s greatest stories. This is a tale of two teenagers coming from two families in a feud who fall in love with each other at first sight. The two get married, become true lovers in the real sense of the word, and then risk everything for their love.
Taking your own life for your spouse definitely qualifies as a genuine sign of love. Romeo and Juliet’s "untimely deaths" have another notable outcome: ultimately uniting the two feuding households.
The love affair between Mark Antony, the Roman general and Cleopatra, his Egyptian queen, together with their Rome war and subsequent mutual suicide, literally shook the ancient world to the core. This romance has been the inspiration behind one of the most celebrated tragedies by Shakespeare.
Shakespeare's writing depicts the Cleopatra-Mark Antony relationship as always volatile yet after risking everything in a war about Rome where they lost, the couple chose to die together around 30 BC. Mark Antony and Cleopatra are said to have been buried together but a mystery surrounds the location of their joint tomb.
Casablanca was made internationally famous by Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. This love story, however, was a play originally created by Murray Burnett. It was the Epstein brothers, Philip and Julius who turned this inspirational play into a script with the help of their friend, Howard Koch.
This story gives a deeper perspective into the well-aged problem of heartache. Rick Blaine, an American, owns "Rick's Cafe Americain" a gambling club located in the city of Casablanca, Morocco. Casablanca covers the World War II period and Rick, the main character is an embittered man who has been scorned by Ilsa Lund, his ex-lover. Later when Ilsa suddenly walks back into his life, now a married woman, Rick comes face-to-face with the well-known problem of heartache.
Country music stars June Carter and Johnny Cash got married in 1968, some thirteen years after their initial meeting that happened at the Grand Ole Opry backstage. When they met, both were at that time married to other people, but eventually, their love proved irresistible. The couple continued making music for the next thirty-five years together. They both died in 2003 less than four months apart.
In general, the names of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal may be quite unfamiliar to the majority of people living in the Western world but the product of their love has produced an internationally acclaimed monument – The Taj Mahal. The two were a Royal Mughal couple in a loving marriage until the wife died during childbirth. The death of his wife devastated Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor plunging him into deep grief, affecting him both physically and emotionally.
The grief, however, inspired Jahan to build what is recognized as one of the greatest architectural masterpieces in the world to serve as his beloved wife’s final resting place, the Taj Mahal. The Emperor got ill shortly after the completion of the Taj Mahal and his son overthrew him. Shah Jahan spent his remaining days under house arrest and when he died, he was buried next to his beloved Mumtaz in the Taj Mahal.
"Gone with the Wind" is recognized as one of the world’s immortal literary pieces. This famous work by Margaret Mitchell has chronicled the intense love and hate relationship that existed between Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara. It gives credence to the accepted wisdom that timing is everything as these two were never in rhyme, always out of synch. Throughout the course of this epic love story, this tempestuous duo experience strong passion but never permanence. The ever stormy marriage also gives a new perspective on the Civil War battles.
This is a love story about someone who mourned the death of her husband for forty years. Victoria ascended the English throne in 1837 and in 1840 married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. She loved him deeply, relying on his advice for many areas. Victoria was understandably devastated when he died in 1861.
Victoria was not seen in public for three years. She resumed public life relying heavily on the influence of her Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, however she never stopped her mourning, wearing black until she died in 1901. Yes, Victoria mourned her beloved for some forty years.
This relationship could have just been another union in Hollywood, instead the Reagan’s marriage became one of 20th century’s great love stories. Nancy and Ronald Reagan were both professional industry actors by the time they got married in 1952—she was thirty and he was forty-one. However, politics beckoned, first leading them to the California’s governor’s mansion and then to the United States White House, where Ronald served for two terms as President.
The couple’s union was not always smooth—Ronald survived an attempt on his life when he was the president, and later colon cancer, as well as battling Alzheimer’s disease during his last ten years. Nancy too had her trials, as she indeed fought and overcame breast cancer. Their lifelong romance is something rarely seen in Hollywood.
In 1936, something very dramatic happened in England when King Edward VIII gave up his royal throne so that he could to marry the woman he loved. This was Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced socialite from America. Although the scandal rocked the might of the British Empire to the core and captivated the world, the couple remained committed to each other until the death of the Duke in 1972.
Wars have been fought because of love, monuments erected and geniuses inspired. A deeper look into some of the greatest love stories of all time reveals that a good number of them ended tragically. They, however, give us another perspective: that true love can conquer anything in the world.
This relationship is deliberately at the end of our list, as it is filled with controversy. What is clear is that Sally Hemings and American Founding Father and third President, Thomas Jefferson do share a child(ren) as proven by recent DNA tests.
However, the family have fiercely denied any relationship, most probably due to scandal ensuing about the President. Equally, some argue whether Sally Hemings was truly in a relationship given she was a slave at Monticello in Virginia.
Whilst controversial, it is clear a relationship even if unequal did occur. Clearly, none can be sure of the thoughts and feelings of Sally Hemings as slaves did not have a voice, and certainly nothing was really documented about them. However, love can sometimes be unequal, from lustful to unrequited, the love may have just been from Jefferson. However, the Jefferson and Hemings relationship lasted nearly 4 decades.
The relationship does rather 'throw the cat amongst the pigeons', given Jefferson was indeed the author of the Declaration of Independence (signed in Congress on 4 July 1776). The line "all men are created equal" enshrined in this document, does not sit well with the fact that Jefferson owned many slaves. However, as quoted below in this actual text, we can see a conflict in terms of equality and slavery which was still present in the United States at the time, and the unequal status of women in comparison to their male counterparts.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. "
This text perhaps translates to this easy read format:
"All men are created equal and there are certain unalienable rights that governments should never violate. These rights include the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When a government fails to protect those rights, it is not only the right, but also the duty of the people to overthrow that government."
There are truly some of the greatest love stories of all time in this list. Each of them teaching something more, as we peel away the layers of this emotion. We have seen love tear families apart, bring them together, survive phenomenal external pressures, and literally cost the lives of those involved.
Perhaps these love affairs serve as a reminder of just how precious love is, and that love is truly at the core of each human being. We need love to thrive, to survive and ultimately to give us a reason for our lives.
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