Thursday, February 04, 2010

Astrological Twins in Fiction

A mention of Jeffrey Archer's novel Kane and Abel set me off on a train of thought. I read the book years ago, and later saw the TV adaptation. Recalling the main thread of the plot - how the lives of two men, born on the same day, on different continents become entwined, I began to think along lines which had, more or less, eluded me years ago.

The two leading characters were astrological twins, or nearly so. We are not told whether they were born at the very same minute of 18 April 1906 - allowing for different time zones - one in Massachusetts, USA, the other in Poland. It's an engrossing tale. I don't intend to spoil it for anyone who hasn't yet read the book or seen the TV adaptation, but anybody curious about the story can read more detail HERE.

I wonder whether Jeffrey Archer had advice from an astrologer when deciding on the birth date of his lead characters? Here's the chart, set for Boston MA. Planet-in-sign positions (apart perhaps from Moon) would have been the same for USA and Poland whatever the birth time.

Bare bones of the plot include a rags-to-riches tale, a born-with-silver-spoon (in appropriate orifice) tale, a common thirst for power and wealth, a common passionate love of respective offspring, and a whole lot of misunderstanding.

Giving the guys Sun in Aries was a good move - especially for the Polish character who had to really pull out all the stops of his Sun's Mars rulership to escape a dreadful scenario in the country of his birth. Giving them Mars and Venus in Fixed Earth Taurus was appropriate too. They are both very fixed in mindset, extremely stubborn, and enthralled by possessions and property.

Of course, it's fiction, but still interesting to think on these points. Those thoughts led me to ponder on another work of fiction, Ben Hur. I haven't read the book, but the 1959 movie is my favourite film of all time. This might be thought an odd choice for an atheist (agnostic on a good day) like myself, but I love its epic quality, its adventure and scope, but most of all its messages, clean and unsullied by the powerful organised religion which came after. Anyway.... I may be wrong, but I feel certain that right at the start of the movie there's some indication that Judah Ben Hur and Jesus were born at or around the same time. I can't find any evidence of this having been stated in the book, so my memory might be faulty and/or astrology-ridden these days. It's unlikely that author Lew Wallace, in the late 19th century, would have entertained thoughts about astrology, so this is probably just my memory playing tricks. It is mentioned (I think) that both Jesus and Judah Ben Hur were around Judea at the same time though, and were about the same age. Their lives did touch at two or three points in the storyline. This isn't a good example of astrological twins in a novel, but it's one which sprang immediately to mind.

Mark Twain wrote The Prince and the Pauper, a novel about astrological twins, identical in appearance but from very different backgrounds. They change places in the England of 1547. I haven't read this book, but the Prince of the title is Prince Edward who at the tender age of 9 became King, on the death of his father Henry VIII. Edward's date of birth, was 12 October 1537 - Sun in Libra. Pauper Tom Canty's would have been the same. Libra the sign of balance seems rather appropriate for these two boys who each found out what life was like on the other side of the scale.

If a passing reader knows of any other novel or movie with a theme involving astrological twins (born the same day, different parents, different place, maybe at the same time of day), do please drop a comment below.


Wisewebwoman said...

I read all 3 books, T, but have to admit to a bit of a struggle with Ben-Hur. I was 15. Never tweaked my interest enough to go back to it.
I loved the Prince and the Pauper, then I loved Mark Twain too.
Didn't care for Charlton Heston so he kind of destroyed the movie for me. I wish I didn't do this to myself - somehow the personality of the actor intrudes on the role for me.
I do recall a book when I was a teen called "Twice Upon A Time" translated from the German but they were real twins separated at birth.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ I suspect the book of "Ben Hur" would defeat me.

I understand your feeling about Charlton Heston - now. In the days when I first saw the movie I knew nothing at all about the guy.
Having seen the film countless times on TV and video the magic hasn't faded, even knowing what I've discovered about him while living in the USA. I can't think of another actor in the late 1950s who could have carried off that role successfully. Should they decide to remake it, I can't even think of a current actor who'd fit either. To portray such a huge amount of physical and mental strength and determination needs a special kind of guy - they don't seem to make 'em like that anymore - at least not ones who can act (a bit).

"Twice upon a Time" - okay, thanks! I'll keep that in mind, but it's not exactly what I'm looking for. :-)