Tuesday, June 17, 2008

‘Do You Love Me?’ Tevye and Golde

Welton Gaddy recalls and reflects on a well known story:

With delight and a smile I recall that terrific interchange between Tevye and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof:

“Do you love me?” Tevye asked his wife.
“Do I what?” Golde responded.
“Do you love me?” Golde repeated the question with no little disgust in her voice and then commented, “Do I love you? With our daughters getting married and this trouble in the town, you are upset, you are worn out, go inside, go lie down, maybe it’s indigestion.”

“Golde,” Tevye said with growing impatience, “I’m asking you a question. Do you love me?”

Golde knew impatience as she observed aloud to Tevye, “You’re a fool.”

“I know,” her husband agreed, “But do you love me?”

If you have ever longed for someone to speak to you of their love for you, sensing that these words were as important for you as food for your stomach, as air for breath to keep you alive, you understand the importance of this exchange.

Golde speaks again, “For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. After twenty-five years, why speak of love right now?” “I’m your wife,” she said. “But do you love me?”

Suddenly Golde becomes reflective, “For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him, fought with him, starved with him. Twenty-five years my bed is his. If that’s not love, what is?”

Tevye begins to feel better. “Then you love me?” “I suppose I do.” Tevye speaks of his love for Golde and confesses, “It’s nice to know.”

Well, of course it is.

Source: Welton Gaddy, A Community of the Resurrection, 13 April 2008.

Image: “Do you love me?” (Photo)