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Mulder's thoughts on sonship and fatherhood
in light of the dream sequence in Amor Fati.
SPOILER WARNING: Biogenesis arc
DISCLAIMER: Not mine; they belong to CC, FOX, etc.
NOTE: This is the third and final installment in the Father Abraham series and is sequential in time but can also stand alone.
Additional author's notes at the end.
"When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes...." What is it that a father expects of his son? What are his hopes and dreams for the flesh of his flesh? To follow in his footsteps? Or is it to better himself, to become the man that he himself could never be?
And what is it that makes a man a father? Is mere genetic connection enough, or must there be a genuine relationship? Does an absent father have any right to have expectations of his son?
"I am your father." So this man claims. I have known only one father in my life, and he is the one whose name I bear. That name echoes through my head every day, as I have made it my identity. But is that biologically who I am? I am afraid to look any further beyond these claims.
Bill Mulder was not always a man that I was proud of, but he was a man who took a stand against others to do what he felt was right for the greater good. If I am the son not of this man, but of a monster, then what does that make me?
As I lie here with scalp pierced and arms outstretched, my self-proclaimed father asserts that my sacrifice is for the greater good. If I die now, it will be for the good of humanity, and I will do my father proud.
Is this my destiny?
A boy sits on a beach, building a masterpiece out of sand. Someone should tell him to build out of stronger stuff, not to build his house on shifting sand. That is the responsibility of his father, to teach him this. Is that my role here? Am I the father, failing in my job to show him how to proceed? What do I know of being a father? I had no good role model to teach me.
"The child is father to the man."
The boy points me to my true destiny. He shows me what I am meant to see, that the ship he is building is mine. I must learn for myself to build with stuff greater than sand. By ignoring my destiny, I am destroying all I have worked for. I cannot afford to grow complacent.
My dreams take me to a kinder, gentler place. I have a home and a family. I have two sons of my own. I wish for them a happy life, like this one here that I have built for myself. I wish for them to have a peaceful future, unhampered by tales of conspiracies and invasions. If we keep the shutters closed, perhaps I can shelter them from an uncertain world.
But we must all eventually open our eyes to the truth. It lurks outside, waiting for us to emerge from our cocoon of ignorance. It hunts me like a trapped animal. I cannot escape it.
This life of comfort is not for me. I have no place here, in this world with a wife and children. Regardless of my true father, I come from a line where men sacrifice their families to retain their own power. I cannot do this to my own flesh and blood. Whatever line I come from, it should end here.
Am I to be the savior of the world? I have my doubts. It certainly is not a fate I would seek for myself. Why must I become the sacrificial lamb? Father, why have you abandoned all other hopes for me?
I do not wish to become the savior, but there is one who can save me. She stands by my bedside and tells me the truth. And her sweet love I have remembered.
I return to the beach and resume my task. The boy shows me the way. Perhaps he is me, but he is not mine. Such a life, of progeny and promise, is not for me. I have found only one true love in this life, and in a confirmation of my fate, she cannot bear me offspring. So be it. The sky is falling, and we have work to do.
The sins of my fathers have fallen on my shoulders, and I will set them right. But I will not become the man that my father was. My destiny is my own.
Author's Note: "Monogenes" is a Greek term that is traditionally translated "only begotten" (cf. John 3:16) but can also mean "one and only" or "unique." While the literalism of Abraham as father that fit into the previous two installments is lost here, the Binding of Isaac is often seen to prefigure Christ and thus fits very well with the imagery of Amor Fati.
The opening quotation was used in the episode and is from Shakespeare's Sonnet 29. I also alluded to it toward the end of the story. I don't know if CC or DD intended it this way, but the full sonnet suggests that (in this instance) it is Scully's love that shows Mulder he must follow his own destiny rather than long for the life that is not meant to be. I have included the entire sonnet here:
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,--and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings'.
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