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Date Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 07:13:06pm
Author: JayBee
Subject: I understand your metaphor, now that (r)
In reply to: Nell 's message, "Phoey" on Tuesday, January 31, 05:51:03pm

you've explained it. And I wouldn't necessarily disagree that the way in which someone treats a sexual partner can reflect certain important aspects of his/her character.


Thus the glimpses, and they are mostly glimpses, that we get of how the main six made some of these decisions do seem, to me, to be glimpses into something that is most essentially themselves, as it were.

Once again, the "most essentially themselves" language you use seems to be privileging sexual behavior above other types, in a way that strikes me as disproportionate. I think you could point to other kinds of personal interactions on the show that revealed a great deal *more* about certain characters than their behavior in the sexual realm.

Furthermore, even when it comes to behavior toward their sexual partners, "fidelity/infidelity" isn't necessarily the most revealing issue. I think, for example, Paul's abandonment of his wife (if it was voluntary) is a lot more telling about who he is as a person than whether or not he was unfaithful (although more about that below). Similarly, if there's anything in the Madeline/Charles relationship that serves as a metaphor for her "most essential self," it's the fact that she *killed* him, not whether she was faithful or not (which, actually, we have no idea about one way or another).

sexual fidelty doesn't appear to be something Paul values very much

But how do we really know this? It seems to me one has to make a lot of assumptions to get to that conclusion.

First, one might assume that he was carrying on an affair (or a bigamous marriage) with Steven's unnamed mother while married to Corinne (and that's assuming that they weren't really the same person, which I don't think we can completely rule out). However, I believe it's unfair to the character to judge him by that, because even if you make that assumption his backstory is still an impossible-to-reconcile mess. Giving him two wives, or a wife and a mistress, doesn't solve the continuity conflicts, and therefore I don't think it's reasonable to subject the character to this analysis as if the wife/mistress theory is true.

All you can say about Paul with real certainty is that he was married and abandoned his wife -- maybe voluntarily, but maybe not -- to work in Section, and that by the time of the series (well after Corinne was remarried, and after Steven's mother -- if they're different people -- was dead, or at least said by Steven to be dead) he had occasional sexual relations with other women. But does that constitute sexual infidelity? You see, I'm not sure it really *does*, except in the most hyper-legalistic sense (which you said you weren't especially interested in).

So that sexual infidelty becomes a metaphor or a symbol of other kinds of infidelities that shape that character's personality (dare I say, their character?)?

Again, though, at least 3 of the main six had no one to be faithful *to* in the first place, unless again, you're going to be hyper-legalistic and argue that even though Madeline quite reasonably believed her husband to be dead, she would be engaged in infidelity if she had sexual relations with anyone else. So I'm not sure how we get a metaphor for anything in their cases.

I'm not trying to be picky for the sake of being picky. It just seems to me that you've found an issue that works quite well as a metaphor for *Michael's* character, but that it doesn't quite translate as well to the others.

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