The Letters of Abelard and Heloise Quotes


Pleasures tasted sparingly and with difficulty have always a higher relish, whilst everything that is easy and common grows stale and insipid.


When Abelard proposed to Heloise that they should marry, Heloise rejected him, saying that she would prefer to be his mistress. When Abelard complained about this to his sister, not understanding Heloise’s motive for not wanting to marry him, Lucilla told him that for Heloise, marriage would mean the end of their love. Through marriage, their relationship would have become common and thus boring and the feelings which both wanted to experience would be lost. The experience of pleasure only occasionally would avoid this entire thing and would ensure instead a long lasting relationship.

The bonds of matrimony, however honourable, still bear with them a necessary engagement, and I was very unwilling to be necessitated to love always a man who would perhaps not always love me.


In one of her letters, Heloise confesses that she feared that one day, the man she married will no longer love her but she will have to remain in a loveless marriage because either way. Through this, she expresses the reason behind her rejection while simultaneously assuring Abelard that she loves him and that her decision to not marry him was the result of her insecurities and not lack of affection for him.

I have long examined things, and have found that death is less dangerous than beauty.


Heloise notes how dangerous beauty is and how much a person can be influenced by a person’s physical appearance. Heloise gives Biblical examples to support her idea and is able to see how much her beauty affected Abelard. In their case, beauty made them sin and they both had to suffer the consequences of their actions.

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