(4/23/03 8:39 pm)
Virtue and Freedom|
I overheard an interesting conversation the other day - yes, I confess, I was easedropping - regarding the "mutual exclusivity" of two sets of "values": virtue and individual freedom. We have often discussed how some of the French fairy tales set forth or promote certain feminine virtues, and certainly in some of these tales, they seem the antithesis of freedom, but in others it is not so clear. Virtue may lead to freedom.
Curiosity tales seem consistent with the idea of mutual exclusivity of these values. If the person behaves virtuously and does not explore the forbidden, he or she remains a captive, often in a Shangrila of sorts, but a capitive none the less. The Perrault moral at the end of Bluebeard also comes to mind.
I apologize for the ramblings here, but it seems that fairytales and folktales are full of this dichotomy. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Are these values mutually exclusive or juxtaposed frequently in tales? Does this somehow represent a trueism about these values? If so, what does it say about those cultures which value one over the other?