Thursday, September 29, 2011
Don Jose's Downfall in Carmen
Don Jose has a good life before Carmen comes a long. By the time the opera ends, his life is ruined because he completely loses control of his emotions. Love can make people act in a way that they would not normally act. Check out his quote by Friedrich Nietzsche. “Love is a state in which a man sees things most decidedly as they are not." Nietzsche was a huge fan of Carmen during the time when it was premiered. In fact, he saw it over twenty times. This quote by Nietzsche is spot on in describing Don Jose's fate. After Don Jose encounters Carmen for the first time, and she gives him the flower, he has no mere crush on her. It is an obsession which leads to jealousy, which leads to murder. Don Jose absolutely sees things in a warped way when he meets Carmen, and especially when she tries to tell him to take a hike. Why is this? Well, it is because he does not know her from a hole in the wall. He falls passionately in love with her immediately without even knowing anything about her. Carmen's personality is such that she uses one man for something, and then moves on to the next. At least, that is how I personally view her. In Act I she uses Don Jose so that she can escape from prison. She loves him in exchange, but that is only for a short period. Carmen's affairs only last six months. Escamillo says it himself in the third act. When Carmen falls in love with Escamillo, Don Jose cannot except the truth, so he does not see the reality of the situation. He is also trying to be a gypsy smuggler, even though he was brought up by his mother as an honest man. Jealousy completely destroys him, because after all, he has a lot going for him. His mother loves him, he has a girl who loves him named Micaela, and he has a good upbringing. Tragically, his love for Carmen completely changes his personality. Carmen's presence is his first experience of love intoxicating him. That is how this honest man who has so much going for him ends up committing murder. The author of the story Prosper Merimee is being very realistic with this theme of jealousy. Think about it for a moment. Does Lorena Bobbit ring a bell? Or O.J. Simpson? How about other stories such as Othello? These stories are not the same situation as in Carmen. However, they involve harm or murder because of jealousy. Oh, jealousy, that toxic emotion. We have all experienced it. If you say otherwise, you are lying. John Lennon certainly did. He wrote a song called "Jealous Guy", where he is apologizing for being jealous. A lot of good jealousy does. A situation is the way it is for a reason. Carmen even says that to Don Jose. She tells him that he is better off going home with Micaela in the third act, and that she is through with him. But, it is too late for him. Jealousy, that toxic and tragic emotion defeats Don Jose, like it defeats a lot of fictional and real characters.