Study Guide

The English Patient Marriage

Marriage

GEOFFREY: Uxoriousness. That's my favorite kind of love. Excessive love of one's wife.

Thank you, Geoffrey, for defining this word during the discussion about different types of love. This line makes Geoffrey seem very sweet and devoted to Katharine. On the flip side, it makes him seem like even more of a sap when she betrays him.

GEOFFREY: Let's toast then. Absent wives. […]
KATHARINE: And future ones.

Almost all the men in the Royal Geographic Society are married. Would Katharine still want an affair with Almásy if he were married too?

HANA: I'll probably marry him. […] My mother always told me I would summon my husband by playing the piano.

Hana's little superstition about marriage seems silly, but it makes sense that a woman who believes she is cursed would believe this too. And after a terrible war like WWII, people have to believe in whatever they possibly can.

ALMÁSY: And the marriage? Is that a fiction?
KATHARINE: No, the marriage isn't a fiction.

People lie a lot in The English Patient, but one thing no one ever lies about is marriage. They might not take their marriage vows seriously, but they don't ever lie about it.

GEOFFREY: What's the symbol of your first anniversary? I should get something. Is it cotton or paper?

Geoffrey loves Katharine, but it's telling that she doesn't remember their wedding anniversary. She seems to have married him because nothing else was working out. Yes, she loves him, but it's not the same kind of passionate love she feels for Almásy.

KATHARINE: This is a different world is what I tell myself. A different life. And here I'm a different wife.
ALMÁSY: Yeah, you are a different wife.

This conversation continues our thought from the last quote. Katharine has two different relationships with two different men. She gets something from Geoffrey that she cannot get with Almásy, and she gets something from Almásy that she cannot get with Geoffrey.

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