IDENTITY, HUSBANDS AND WIVES, AND DROPS OF WATER. The other speech I have been thinking about occurs when the wife of one of the twins goes looking for her husband and encounters her husband’s twin, who does not recognize her. Here is part of her speech to him:
“How comes it now, my husband, O, how comes it,
That thou art thus estranged from thyself?
Thyself I call it, being strange to me,
That, undividable, incorporate,
Am better than thy dear self’s better part.
Ah, do not tear away thyself from me!
For know, my love, as easy mayest thou fall
A drop of water in the breaking gulf,
And take unmingled that same drop again,
Without addition or diminishing,
As take from me thyself and not me too.” (II, ii, 119-129)
I recognize that Shakespeare was preoccupied with issues of identity and that he uses the raindrop metaphor for both twins and spouses. And I posted here about James Shapiro choosing THE COMEDY OF ERRORS as one of the five Shakespeare plays he would take to a desert island because of what it says about “twins, marriage and identity”.
The thought that a husband and wife become one entity has been around for a long time (and led to some strange legal doctrines), but I have never in 43 years of marriage thought in terms of a merging of identities.