The Unbearable Lightness of Being
by Milan Kundera
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Michael Henry Heim's translation.
We all reject out of hand the idea that the love of our life may be something light or weightless; we presume our love is what must be, that without it our life would no longer be the same; we feel that Beethoven himself, gloomy and awe-inspiring, is playing the "Es muss sein!" to our own great love.
Tomas often thought of Tereza's remark about his friend Z. and came to the conclusion that the love story of his life exemplified not "Es muss sein! " (It must be so), but rather "Es konnte auch anders sein" (It could just as well be otherwise). (1.17.4-5)
Here Kundera complicates the idea of lightness and weight. One the one hand, Tomas's love for Tereza is weighty, in that she asks him for commitment and makes him responsible for her. But if his love lacks es muss sein, it is also light.
And at some point, he realized to his great surprise that he was not particularly unhappy. Sabina's physical presence was much less important than he had suspected. […]
Actually, he had always preferred the unreal to the real. Just as he felt better at demonstrations (which, as I have pointed out, are all playacting and dreams) than in a lecture hall full of students, so he was happier with Sabina the invisible goddess than the Sabina who had accompanied him throughout the world and whose love he constantly feared losing. (3.9.18-19)
Franz was more in love with the idea of Sabina than Sabina herself. He was intoxicated by what she represented to him, by the Grand March of history that she symbolized. It makes sense that he doesn't need her around physically in order to love her. As we see, it's easier for him to carry on a relationship with her when she's gone.
He told her he lived nearby. He was an engineer and had stopped off on his way home from work the other day by sheer chance. (4.10.12)
Just as she did when she first met Tomas, Tereza is on the look out for fortuities to endorse a potential romantic encounter. Her sense of beauty is still acute – or is she misreading this scenario?