Example 2

Example 2

Love story superplot number 6:

Love lies

 “Every man has the chance to charm any woman he wants. With the right wand.” 

Hitch – in: Hitch (2005)

Short info: Love lies

 A relationship is built on a lie or concealment. However, the lied person experiences emotional liberation through the liar and believes to have found the ideal partner.

What is the superplot “Love Lies” about?

Through a lie two people come together and become a couple. This plot is basically about adorning oneself with false feathers in order to be able to love an unreachable partner. Those who resort to this strategy of partner search act with disguise, pretence and lies.

What are the figure targets?

Often one of the partners pretends to be in love and pretends to love in order to enrich himself materially. The victim, who is sitting on the lie, usually experiences an emotional release and believes to have found the ideal partner. When the lie comes to light, the liberated person experiences an emotional setback.

The historical development of the plot

In this plot, one person pretends to be someone else in order to gain the trust of another person, or claims something untrue. Deception and lies are ways of getting to know a person who would otherwise never be considered a partner, and a good way to bring two completely opposite characters together.

Thus a dream couple is created, which in the end experiences a nightmare when the whole lie is revealed – but only temporarily. Because during their time together, both have learned from each other and changed, so that somehow they can fit together in the end.

The lie that gets everything rolling should be rather harmless. It is not about the lying person wanting to play with and hurt the feelings of the other person, but the lie is supposed to draw the other person out of his or her reserve – to free him or her emotionally.

There are four forms of lying…

A lie about money: This lie aims at enriching oneself by loving someone else or to gain a professional advantage (“How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953), “What women want” (2000), “Heartbreakers” (2001))

Lying to conquer someone unreachable: Someone lies to get a partner who is very good-looking, for example (“Hitch” (2005), “Wedding Crashers” (2005), “Pillow Talk” (1959), “Some like it hot” (1959)).

Lying out of an assignment: Someone gets money if he seduces and conquers another (“10 Things I hate about you” (1999), “Kiss me, stupid” (1964)).

Lying out of genuine love for a person: Someone pretends to be someone else because he or she loves a person, but usually cannot get close to her or him (“Maid in Manhattan” (2002), “There’s Something About Mary” (1998)).

Here too, there must be no third person. So the relationship must not be kept secret – only the lie.

In the history of literature, the figure of the liar is closely connected with that of the impostor. First sources are not found before the 17th century. [i] An impostor is a kind of noble thief. He differs from the schemer in that he does not break the hearts of women, but makes them blossom.

The Spanish poet Lope de Vega (1562-1635) was one of the first to describe in “El caballero del milagro” (1593) a kind of soldier of fortune who is a loudmouth on the one hand and a womanizer on the other. He pretends to be a rich man through his attractiveness and his clothes and thus wins the favour of the women. When he wants to flee the country with the crooked money, he is betrayed by his servant.  

In the literature there are various impostor figures or liars. Some lie for love, others for prestige or money. Many writers of world literature have written about impostors because they expose the mendacity of society and obedience to authority in such a wonderful way.

Molière (1622-1673) created one of the most famous impostors with “Tartüffe” (1664). The allegedly pious swindler Tartüffe tries to swindle the large fortune of a wealthy citizen. In addition, he is supposed to get the daughter of the bourgeois to his wife. The fact that nothing comes of this is thanks to the daughter’s fiancé, who unmasks Tartüffe in detective manner.

Film samples are …

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Marylin Monroe

Heartbreakers (2001) with Sigourney Weaver

Wedding crashers (2005) with Owen Wilson

What women want (2000) with Mel Gibson

10 things I hate about you (1999) with Heath Ledger

Pillow talk (1959) with Doris Day

Hitch (2005) with Will Smith

There’s Something About Mary (1998) with Ben Stiller

Some like it hot (1959) with Marylin Monroe

Kiss me, stupid (1964) with Kim Novak

Maid in Manhattan (2002) with Jennifer Lopez

Cf also Frenzel, Elisabeth. Motifs from world literature. Stuttgart 1992. p. 370

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