When a man is torn between two women whom he loves, he cannot help but hurt at least one of them. In C. P. Taylor’s play “And a Nightingale Sang,” the character of Norman found himself deeply embedded in the predicament of having two such loves. When he finally made a decision about his feelings for the two women, Norman was forced to disappoint Helen, the woman whom he truly loved. Norman took on an excess of blame due to his choice, which made him look like a pathetic two-timer, when he was only trying to make the best out of a situation that happens to most people at some point in their life. Norman, being afraid of dying without love, did the best that he could, which is all anyone is humanly possible of doing.
After Helen and Norman got over their first few emotional encounters, the two paramours began to meet in the park. When Helen and Norman became close enough to take the next step in their relationship, it was revealed that Norman was already married to another woman. Norman claimed to no longer want to stay married to, nor love, his first wife. However, due to religious beliefs and society’s impact on love, Norman couldn’t end his marriage to his wife. Helen heroically suggested that they should get a small cottage together, which meant that they could be happy together when Norman was on leave from the war. His wife would never need to know what happened to him. However, a few problems soon caught up with Helen and Norman.
Norman’s guilt eventually wore him down, prompting him to reveal to Helen that he had still been going to see his first wife on his leaves from the war. To make matters worse, Norman and his wife had slept together and created a baby while he was still courting Helen. Helen was utterly devastated, but stood strong to get through the tragedy. Norman felt horrible, but his marriage wasn’t what is seemed to be, which was why he was able to still court Helen. He had been very young when he was drafted into World War II. At the time, he looked upon the entrance into the war as his march to death. Norman never wanted to die without the love of a good woman. When he was drafted, he didn’t have time to find love, which led to his shaky marriage with his first wife. It was never a marriage of great love, rather one of quick decision and great friendship. He loved his wife, but it was never a love that was matched with chemistry and lust.
Norman went to war as a boy, but returned as a man. Norman found real love when he visited Helen, which is why he kept pursuing her despite his marital status. Norman was just like any other man (or woman) on the planet. He simply wanted to be in love with someone who loved him back. Helen complemented him perfectly, which is why they couldn’t help but fall for each other. They were a perfect match, but they were not made to remain together. Norman never went after Helen with the intention of hurting her, but that was what came out of their relationship. Norman tried his best to let the guilt over his first wife go, but he felt an obligation to the past and to his duties, which was a respectable move in his case. He may have had some type of love for his first wife, but it was never comparable to the love he felt for/with Helen. After thinking over his life, Norman, as a man who had seen the effects of war, realized that he had to fulfill a man’s duties. He was married to his first wife, which meant that he had to support her. When Norman told Helen that he was leaving her and never coming back, she was strong enough to handle the situation. Helen had gained a strength from Norman and their relationship. He was only making up for his past mistakes and taking care of his duties as a husband and a father. Norman was a good man who had just strayed off course for a little while. He was afraid of dying without love, which is why he made the rash decision to get married despite being not truly in love with the woman. He cannot be faulted for being afraid for this. Many men (and women) have been in this position before.
Norman and Helen were a match made in heaven, but often things aren’t meant to be. The two lovers found love for a short while, but Norman belonged with his first wife and child. He never meant to make a huge mess of the situation, but he was human. He wanted to find love before he died, just like every other person on this planet. He cannot be faulted for trying to succeed at life. Helen was just caught up in the grand scheme of things, suffering some in the end. However, Helen too, will come out of this a stronger person. The follies of love are simply a force that constantly alters one’s state of mind, forcing humans to succumb to their passions. It’s just one of the punches humankind has to deal with on a daily basis. Norman, his wife, and Helen were three of these people who were forced to play a role in the follies.
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