Narcissus and Goldmund
Narcissus and Goldmund is a novel written by Hermann Hesse. The novel tells the story of Goldmund, a person born to travel. He contraststhe life of Goldmund with the one of Narcissus, a person born to be a cleric. Most of the time the book talks about the nomadic life that Goldmund lives when he leaves the monastery. Its interesting tosee how it contrasts to the life of Narcissus. At the end of the book Narcissus ends up being high priest and Goldmund ends up being a vagabond traveler who has been jailed up. This is a veryinteresting contrast between the traveler and the sedentary.
A similar duality can be found in every duality of life. Many aspects have a counterpart that we almost unconsciously relate. Some commonexamples are light-darkness, wide-narrow, big-small. These dualities are present in all aspects of our lives, and they represent a kind of dilemma in human mind. The duality that I think is most important onman is the duality reason-pleasure. The Greek philosophers considered this duality so important that they even assigned two gods to this duality. The god Dionysius represents the pleasure and theinstinctive part of the human; on the other hand, Apollo represents the reason of which human being is so proud.
But how all this dualities relate to the book? It is very simple; Narcissus and Goldmundactually represent the everlasting duality fighting inside man. Narcissus would represent Apollo, the reasonable, prudent, and conscious way of behaving. On the other side Goldmund would representDionysus; the instinctive and passionate way of behaving. It is very easy to see it; while Goldmund travels and haves relations with multiple women, Narcissus stays studying as a cleric in themonastery. At the end their paths unite again after they separate, with different results for each one. Narcissus has achieved a high position while Goldmund has achieved an infinite variety of real life...