14 Literary Classics That Prove Love Has Always Been Dead

by Dan Kuhn

Not every story ends with a happy horseback jaunt to an unspecific castle in an unspecific kingdom.

Not every princess gets her prince.

Sometimes books just suck.

Unlike Disney’s collection of heart-warming “happy endings,” literary classics tend to conclude a little more realistically.

After all, the great writers and playwrights of yesteryear intended to create reflections and criticisms of their societies, not give little girls delusions of tiaras and teen marriage.

Though no one likes it when finishing an English assignment brings us to tears (thanks “Intro to American Lit”), sometimes we learn the most when we don’t get what we want.

The stories and characters wouldn’t really be realistic if everything ended just peachy.

Sorry, but in real life, the guy doesn't always show up with a bouquet — and sometimes a musical number — just in the nick of time.

Grab the Ben & Jerry’s and tissues, and check out 14 literary relationships as doomed as a Shonda Rhimes’ character.

1. Pip And Estella, “Great Expectations”

Even though Estella was the dictionary definition of intimacy problems (thanks, Miss Havisham), we really wanted it to work out.

But maybe we all needed “greater” expectations for Pip. (Shoutout to Biddy.)

2. Winston And Julia, “1984”

Just when we thought love could conquer all, the system wins again.

How can love last when you're forced to face your greatest fear in Room 101?

At least Winston will always have Big Brother.

3. Hamlet And Ophelia, “Hamlet”

Don’t date a crazy, or you’ll become the crazy.

Ophelia, you can’t fix him.

Maybe you should have just followed his advice and gone to that nunnery.

4. Dr. Frankenstein And Elizabeth, “Frankenstein”

So, your life’s work kills your one true love? Totally worth it.

Spending the rest of your life and dying to seek your revenge against your own creation is definitely better than being a newlywed.

5. Romeo And Juliet “Romeo and Juliet”

Well, this is why teenagers shouldn’t get married.

But hey, Romeo?

Maybe next time, check to see if she has a pulse before you pop some poison.

6. Gatsby And Daisy, “The Great Gatsby”

“Gatsby believed in the green light.”

He did everything he could to give Daisy the life she wanted, but she believed in money and status.

Sorry, Jay, but rather than impressing her, that big yellow car of yours just causes more problems.

7. Heathcliff And Catherine, “Wuthering Heights”

Again, it’s all about status.

Instead of a tale of an orphan finding a home and love, we get 400 pages of death, hopelessness, revenge and vampires?

8. Connie And Rose of Sharon, “The Grapes of Wrath”

All of that idealism and dreaming couldn’t be sustained by the hardships of migrant life.

When Connie bails, Rose of Sharon is abandoned and devastated, but a hell of a lot stronger.

Also, the ending is completely bizarre and creepy. Let's just say it involves breast milk and a dying man.

9. Othello And Desdemona, “Othello”

At first, Shakespeare alludes that love can defeat the brute of 16th century racism.

And then after just a little convincing from Iago, Othello kills Desdemona for “infidelity.”

I’m glad the trust is real.

10. Dimmesdale And Hester, “The Scarlet Letter”

Bad fashion and public shaming: That’s why you always go for the son of a preacher man, not the preacher.

Never hook up with another guy before you're absolutely sure your husband is dead, especially if your husband (and lover) is completely loco.

11. Henry And Catherine, “A Farewell to Arms”

Would they have been good parents?


They were kind of terrible, selfish people.

But, did Catherine need to die?


12. Tess And Angel, "Tess of the d’Urbervilles”

Communication, communication, communication.

It could have saved a trip to South America and a hanging.

13. Scrooge And Belle, “A Christmas Carol”

If only Scrooge could have loved her as much as he loved his wallet.

Belle moves on, but at least Scrooge has his money.

14. Meursault And Marie, “The Stranger”

Well, Mersault really didn’t care.

Marie, you can't change him.

But, I digress.