David Lurie's Worshipping Of Eros In J.M Coetzee's &Quot;Disgrace&Quot;

1616 words - 6 pages

David Lurie's worshipping of Eros keeps him from recognizing the guilt of his actions and he uses his beliefs to justify his bad behavior throughout Disgrace. His beliefs help him to defend his approach to attaining personal satisfaction, sexual release, autonomy and passion. Lurie is very condescending of women and sees them as a way to "solve the problem of sex" rather than as an equal. He shows a prejudice towards women who do not attempt to make themselves look appealing and he sees himself as a "predator" of the women of which he is intimate. He is extremely passionate about poetry but shows no enthusiasm while teaching, especially when he is forced to teach introductory communication courses. Lurie decides to resign from teaching at the university in Cape Town, rather than to admit he has made a mistake. He is very independent and is saddened to realize he can no longer protect his daughter, Lucy, or himself. He sees himself inferior to other races, to other species and to the other gender. Lurie's feeling of superiority to other races is seen as a result of the Apartheid. Lurie's character is paralleled with the character Byron that Lurie talks about in his romantic poetry class. Like the character Byron, Lurie acts on his own impulses and he too has "a mad heart." Lurie uses his worshipping of Eros and his beliefs to justify his mistakes and to resolve himself of any bad behavior towards others, particularly his affair with Melanie.

Throughout the novel, Lurie refers to his idealizing belief of Eros. Eros is the Greek god of love and sexual desire. Early legend states that Eros was responsible for the union of the earth and the sky. He is said to be one of the oldest gods, although he did not appear in Greek mythology until after many other gods. Eros is also known as Erotes, which is the plural of Eros. This could expand Eros to include both heterosexual and homosexual love and desires. Eros is said to be charming and handsome but was described by the poet Sappho as being "bitter-sweet" and sometimes cruel to his victims. Eros would shoot arrows from a bow into the hearts of mortals and other gods to give them feeling of love and desire for another. Eros was mischievous and would wound as many hearts as he could. Eros was later borrowed by the Romans and is more commonly known as cupid. Lurie worshipped Eros and used his beliefs to serve his own purpose, especially his sexual release.

Lurie's beliefs served as a justification for his attitude towards women and his sexual behavior. Lurie believes in the first chapter that he has "solved the problem of sex rather well." He has found this solution in a female prostitute with the working name of Soraya that he meets every Thursday for a ninety-minute session. Their relationship is purely professional for Soraya. Lurie can be compared to Soraya in that both are detached and not intimate in their jobs. Lurie says that he was never a good teacher but when he is forced to teach...

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