Sonia Gomes's Reviews > Amor de Perdição

Amor de Perdição by Camilo Castelo Branco
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Jul 30, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: portuguese, romance
Recommended to Sonia by: Required Lit to be read for the MA Course in Portuguese Lit.
Recommended for: To all those Romantics/ Aos Romanticos
Read on July 01, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Amor de Perdição, written by Camilo Castelo Branco in 1861, follows the pattern of all tragedies, passionate love stories, amazing love stories, where lovers have absolutely lost all sense of reality; the lovers surmount dreadful obstacles just to be with their loved ones, to achieve happiness in their complex love. Most of the times, this quest for happiness is extremely frustrating; even when together the lovers endure such suffering that you wonder is it worth it?
Camilo Castelo Branco wrote this love story in the space of a fortnight, when he was in prison, facing charges of adultery. Amor de Perdição a tragedy has all the ingredients that turn it into a perpetual heart-rending story with teachers moaning ‘Ai que lindo’, ‘Ai que lindo’ at suitable moments.
Most tragedies focus on the impossible love of two people; Amor de Perdição is no exception, it pursues this well trodden path.
Simão Botelho falls passionately in love with Teresa de Albuquerque, both belong to aristocratic families who live in Viseu but all is not roses for the these two families, in fact, the Albuquerques and the Botelhos, detest each other intensely. Why? It all started when Domingos Botelho, a judge passed a judgement against Tadeu de Albuquerque, after that there was no looking back, they hated each other with vehemence. One day as luck would have it, Teresa de Albuquerque was taking a breath of clean, fresh Viseu air at her window; across the narrow street she sees the strapping figure of Simão Botelho, breathing the very same air, could there have been a bigger sign from above.
Passionate love ensues, such long conversations, back and forth, across the narrow street, but the Viseu wind is treacherous, one fine day someone heard these passionate sweet nothings as the wind carried them. All Hell breaks loose. Domingos Botelho cannot believe his son has fallen for that skinny fifteen year old Albuquerque girl, daughter of his sworn enemy. ‘You could do better than that, you idiot’ he says. Domingos Botelho forgets his aristocracy when he yells with his powerful pair of lungs. ‘Tadeu de Albuquerque KEEP YOUR DAUGHTER LOCKED, IF I CATCH HER TALKING TO MY SON I WILL …I WILL, …..words failed him he could not imagine what he would do.
Tadeu de Albuquerque, was smart, he kept his mouth shut, when all he wanted to do was to wring Simão’s neck. Of course I too would want to wring Simão’s neck, that useless lout did nothing, drank, gambled and caused endless trouble for his family. Tadeu de Albuquerque called for his nephew, Baltasar, who was supposed to marry Teresa. Pssst said Tadeu de Albuquerque, ‘you better get here as fast as you can, Teresa loves the guy across the street’, ‘my inheritance’ thinks the chivalrous Baltasar.
Domingos Botelho dispatches Simão to Coimbra, here Simão transforms himself into a model student, all because of Teresa, who writes reams of letters to him. In the meantime, Baltasar does try to win Teresa back, but Teresa stands straight, looks him in the eye and says ‘I love someone else.’ Poor Baltasar in his misguided fashion tries and tries to explain how terrible Simão is. Baltasar, Baltasar my dear could you not see that Teresa is dreadfully in ‘love’ with this guy. Nothing works in the Albuquerque household, no amount of cajoling, bribes; even a lovely party thrown in so that Teresa ‘could forget the lover’ and marry her suitor Baltasar, but NO! Teresa will marry only Simão, Simão, Simão. Fortitude says our Professora, look at the young girl; she knew her mind, forgetting that Teresa had known no other men.
‘Convent’, says Tadeu de Albuquerque, ‘Convent is what is best for you’, pssst thinks maybe she can learn some excellent ‘doçaria conventual’ he had a sweet tooth you see. ‘If that is what you want for me, so be it’ says the dutiful daughter, Fortitude says our Professora wiping a tear from her eye.
Letters to Simão, who like a rabid bull, paces his room.
DO NOT DO ANYTHING RASH SIMÃO, KEEP COOL
SAVE ME! SAVE ME!! I CANNOT STAY HERE ANYMORE
So when Teresa is being transferred from one Convent to another, Simão rushes to her rescue, seeing the unfortunate Baltasar in his way shoots him.
Simão, tells the Police, ‘I have committed this crime, do what you will, I seek no pardon, I desire no help, nor do I desire any money from ANYONE. Psssst by then Simão had acquired a willing slave to do everything for him, procure food for him, wash his clothes and even spend her savings on him, a besotted creature so in love with him knowing deep in her heart that her love would never be repaid, not even acknowledged, for she came from humble, humble origins, daughter of the village blacksmith, Mariana the selfless soul.
Like many rich people, with loads of influence, Simão is not convicted, rather the thug is sent to us here in India so that he can start a new life. It is curtains for the passionate love, Mariana rejoices as she accompanies Simão to the land of heat and dust, he is all mine she thinks, but lovers are lovers and as Teresa waves out a tiny scrap of embroidered linen to Simão from the terrace of the Convent, she collapses O Simão, Simão meu amor she weeps and her soul lifts effortlessly to heaven, O que tragédia weeps our very own Professora, taken up by her own thoughts of love and romance. Simão, gets to know of the terrible but unavoidable occurrence, gets a high fever and dies. And Mariana what of Mariana the selfless soul? Not being able to bear the terrible tragedy, Mariana, flings herself into the sea, in her hands the packet of letters…….

On the face of it we have a tragedy like so many others but is this all that an erudite author like Camilo Castelo Branco wants to put forward? To not delve deeper into this book beyond the sentimental story, beyond the ‘ai que lindo’ is in my opinion a greater tragedy.
Camilo Castelo Branco starts by emphasising the fact this is autobiographical story, Simon was a relative of the family. He goes to great lengths to tell us about how he came to know the story, backed by dates and historical facts, he narrates about a stay at an aunt’s house when he was orphaned at ten.
What Castelo Branco really wants to convey is the environment of the aristocracy during the XVIII and XIX centuries. Teresa takes great pains to explain how empty and full of vice life in Convents really is. In this context the tragic story takes on a different hue, it becomes a sort of a compendium of how aristocracy behaved in the XVIII and XIX Centuries.
We are shown how aristocracy behaved in villages how disparagingly city aristocracy treated village aristocracy.
We realise how much reputation and family traditions were meant to be, much above such mundane sentiments as love. The tragic consequences of what happens when ‘love’ takes precedence over age old family traditions and sentiments, Simão turns into a criminal and dies of unexplained fever, Teresa cloistered in a convent dies because she just refuses to live, Mariana a sensible girl goes mad when she falls in love with Simão and ultimately commits suicide.
Strangely Castelo Branco writes
‘Os poetas cansam-nos a paciência a falarem do amor da mulher aos quinze anos, como paixão perigosa, única e inflexível. Alguns prosadores de romances dizem o mesmo. Enganam-se ambos. O amor aos quinze anos é uma brincadeira; é a última manifestação do amor às bonecas [...]. (p.26)’
Strangely in our hurry and myopic vision we have catalogued Amor de Perdição as just another tragic love story, we refuse to waste our time looking beyond the sentimentalism and finding the true essence of this book and that is the tragedy.
















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message 1: by John (new) - added it

John Holmes obrigado por estragar o livro para quem não leu.


Sonia Gomes Peco desculpas!!


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly thanks for the translation!


Sonia Gomes No problem!


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