The Life Within – A Haiku

Life is a labyrinth

Paths lead us to destiny

A maze of choices

Life is a theatre for

Those who play and those who watch

Nor scene or act

Life is a great friend

An unbreakable bonding

A love one choses

Life is coincidence

A fate that falls from above


Life is beautiful 

Because death is infinite

The Haiku above was written in response to the film Life is Beautiful, directed by Roberto Benigni, and each stanza represents a different motif seen throughout the film: which includes choices, fantasy, friendship and coincidence. The first stanza is an analogy of the motif of choice, drawing a parallel between the choices made by Guido in the movie and the choices one makes in a maze; both a vital aspect in improving or worsening one’s circumstance. Had the characters chosen a different path in the labyrinth, they may not have found themselves entangled in the brutalities of war or even possibly – alive. This then ties in with stanza four, for the opposing ideas of choice and coincidence both determine what one becomes -only different in whether the individual has any say. The interplay between the two lies in who actually has the choice: for Dora seeing Guido everywhere was pure fate, though to Guido it was all an abstract plan. Meaning that life is both fate and free will, never predetermined yet often predictable.

In the second stanza I chose the motif fantasy, for the game Guido creates for Joshua was a fantasy designed to protect the young boy from the reality of the camp. Like a play, the game had players and spectators- made to take the participant to an unreal reality. Finally, in stanza three the idea of friendship, a very prominent motif throughout the movie, for it was Guido’s relationship with his son that enabled him to sacrifice his humility in order to preserve his innocence. Overall, each of these motifs inspired me to relate them back to why life is truly beautiful while also reminding me why life is also unsightly; one would not have to make a choice if life were perfect, individuals would not create a fantasy if there were not something to hide from, friendship would be meaningless if sacrifices were not necessary and coincidence would be a myth if our lives were articulately planned. Each a stepping stone of beauty, though not always reliable, tying into the conclusion: life is only possible because of death- life is only beautiful because it ends, giving us no choice but to savour the sweet and endure the injurious.

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