by Andrea Elizabeth

In the “Silhouettes” chapter of Either/Or Kierkegaard searches out women’s sorrow like a knight errant. The sorrow most manifested in a scorned woman. In my usual ambivalence, I both wonder if it’s his business and find it priestly. But if a woman has been scorned and is not able to reattach to someone else, who else can help her? Other women may sympathize, but we need someone of the same gender as the offender to understand in their stead.

What if Kierkegaard interviewed Regina after he broke off his engagement to her and understood her better than the others around her, even his replacement? He would probably call it ironic.

In the continuous cycle of thoughts – I’m up to the end of Elvira’s section on page 204 – I like the more positive ones. The negative ones are self-defensive. The positive ones are vulnerable love. But should one keep onesself vulnerable to an untrustworthy person? The Catholics would say yes, but will allow for annulments. Supposedly this is still more conservative than the Orthodox because I guess the offender couldn’t ever be off the hook. Just the faithful victim?

That places unfaithfulness as the unforgivable sin. The unfaithful one would not be granted a second – first real – marriage in the church and would thus be denied communion if he sought it elsewhere. There is no repentance for that because it would require another divorce. The Orthodox don’t think permanent lines in the sand can be drawn like that. People can grow a conscience and make better decisions with maturity.

I would rather Elvira forgive Giovanni and pray for his salvation. Then she can be at peace.