What does Sacrifice mean?

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Elton John: Sacrifice Meaning

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Song Released: 1989


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Sacrifice Lyrics

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Its a human sign
When things go wrong
When the scent of her lingers
And temptations strong

Into the boundary
Of each married man
Sweet deceit comes calling
And negativity lands

Cold cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Sep 26th, 2017 9:00pm report


    As I understand it, as someone who has known this song inside out for years: The narrator's relationship with his partner is breaking down. He realises this when he becomes attracted to someone else, as he wouldn't be tempted if his relationship with his partner was a good one. Hence, "It's a human sign/When things go wrong/When the scent of her lingers/And temptation strong."
    He feels he must act upon this temptation ("Sweet deceit comes calling") but when he does, his partner finds out and rows break out ("And negativity lands"). As their relationship was already rocky, he had become cynical, ("Cold, cold heart/Hard done by you"), so he doesn't feel any sorrow in cheating. As he puts it, compared to their relationship, "Some things look better" and he intends to move on as he is "just passing through".
    As this relationship had got so bad, giving it up is "no sacrifice". Already, he realises, they are "two hearts living in two separate worlds." So it's not as if they are together anymore in any real sense. Like a lot of couples towards the end, they are living separate lives while just happening to live in the same house. For this reason, ending it, as he reiterates, is "no sacrifice at all."
    After the arguments, the couple do not talk anymore and this lack of communication leads to confusion as to what they both really think. "Mutual misunderstanding/After the fact").
    The woman, it seems, does not want to hear from him: she is too heartbroken; she has heard enough. Hence, "Sensitivity builds a prison/ In the final act." "We lose direction" refers to there being no point to their knowing each other anymore. The aim, originally, had been love but that is off the cards now. "No stone unturned," refers to both lovers' analysis of the relationship, trying to figure out where it went wrong. "No tears to damn you/When jealousy burns" refers, I think, refers to her spite in her retaliation. But the narrator has no tears to demonstrate the break down of their relationship which led to his adultery, as he doesn't give a damn anymore. The loss of their relationship, he repeats, was worthless at the end anyway. Losing it, and exchanging it for a new one with someone else, was "no sacrifice at all."



  2. 2TOP RATED

    tantina
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    Aug 30th, 2017 8:13pm report


    I understood it this way after much thought.

    The first eight lines is a recall of an act of infidelity by a man. It is human to to recall reminisce or remember an affair or an act especially those we enjoyed or are guilty hence "it's a normal human sign". An affair outside marriage (infidelity) is wrong for especially Christians meant by "when things go wrong". Usually after an affair with someone (side chick), one can still smell the perfume or body odour of the person even in the person’s absence hence “ the scent of her (side chick) lingers” in the mind and heart of the man then the temptation to have another affair with this side chick is strong hence “and temptation’s strong”.
    The temptation is usually so strong that even at home with the wife, the married man still is beckoned by the desire to engage in the extra marital affair with that side chick who is a “sweet deceit” hence “into the boundary of each married man, sweet deceit comes calling”. And by answering the call of “sweet deceit”, “negativity lands” which refers to suspicion, disclosure of the infidelity, disagreement, confusions, chaos, bitterness, resentment etc etc. All the happiness, love and wonderful memories disappear when negativity lands.
    The absence of peace, trust, love, happiness, fond memories, etc and the presence of negativity ( haunts of infidelity and the resulting chaos) results in cold relationships hence “cold cold heart” when it’s supposed to be warm warm heart, lols. It’s so hard to live with a person who has a cold heart towards you and that person further does a harder thing / another hard thing or complicates matters by seeking a divorce or separation hence “hard done by you”. However, it seems better to go through the pain of being cheated on to maintain the relationship instead of divorcing/separating hence “somethings look better just passing through, baby”. Thus, to the man, the woman should swallow the bitter pill of his infidelity and pass through it or live with it till time eases that pain.

    The man equally feels that divorce or separation which connotes a sacrifice of the marriage, love, feeling, etc that was between the two is actually no sacrifice because sacrifice is such a simple word, an understatement of the reality which is two hearts (which are supposed to live in one world and beat as one) living in two separate worlds. How hurting it will be for both hearts as they were locked in love as one but battered now and living in separate worlds as a result of infidelity from the man and unforgiveness from the wife. Hence “it’s no sacrifice, just a simple world, it’s really two hearts living in two separate worlds”. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    From the preceding, the man wants the woman to understand that she is being too hard seeking a divorce which will results in their two hearts living in two separate worlds instead of being together. However, the woman wants divorce. Usually, it is understood commonly by almost all couples in society that after one finds out that she is being/ has been cheated on, divorce is the next step. This understanding or belief is however, ironically a misunderstanding hence “mutual misunderstanding”. However, to seek divorce based on infidelity, there must be concrete evidence and acceptance by both husband and wife that that cheating really occurred hence “after the fact”. When is a known fact that one’s spouse is a cheat ,one becomes so sensitive which becomes a form of mental and emotional prison hence “sensitivity builds a prison” in the final act of decision making.
    No one takes the right direction when s/he is sensitivity bound hence no wonder the couple lost direction completely meant by “we lose direction, no stone unturned”. When one is too sensitive and jealous, the tears seem to dry out or become viscous and not flow hence “no tears to damn you when jealousy burns”.
    This again compounds the cold relationship characterized by cold heart, lack of communication etc which makes the spouse cheated on to continue to sacrifice their union and live alone. But it is reechoed that divorce or separation is not merely a sacrifice, a simple word, but actually two hearts living in two separate worlds instead of one and yearning or longing for each other but can’t reconcile due to infidelity and unforgiveness.
    I believe the video is very clear on all I have tried to explain but that it should be understood that for decency sake, the act of infedility does not occur on the camera or video hence the audience need to infer.



  3.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 25th, 8:11pm report


    I believe the man had an affair not because he was unhappy with wife and child, but simply because he fell victim to the temptation of another woman. Despite his trying to reason with her, the wife could not get past the betrayal and seems to put both the husband and her daughter behind her. I believe the child plays a central role, in that the man is clearly very attached to the child. In the end, the man is alone, without either his wife or the affair partner, but has decided he must focus on fulfilling his role as father, with the daughter he realizes will always be a constant in his life.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 19th, 7:25am report


    "Sacrifice" is inspired both by the Aretha Franklin song "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" and described as a Percy Sledge song by Elton John[according to whom?]. The song is beloved by both John and Bernie Taupin and deemed a bookend of sorts to their first hit "Your Song". Taupin has said he is surprised he wrote it, and said in an interview, "I think 'Sacrifice' is one of the best songs we've written." The song is not a typical love song, but rather a song about a breakup of a marriage where the loss of the relationship is "no sacrifice".
    -from wikipedia

    Knowing the husband was tempted, weak, gave in to the desires of his flesh. He became one with the woman he had an affair with. The wife was so heartbroken because the husband was unfaithful, dishonest, and desired another woman instead of only her. She felt her husband did not really loved her. Perhaps if they made love she will always remember the time when her husband touched and kissed another woman. I understand why most wives can't forgive their husbands.
    It's up to those married couples if they would stay through thick and thin or they will break up and move forward with their lives.

    I understand because I've seen it when I watched some movies about married couples, read news at the internet.

    -Never been married and never had an affair.



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 19th, 7:21am report


    "Sacrifice" is inspired both by the Aretha Franklin song "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" and described as a Percy Sledge song by Elton John[according to whom?]. The song is beloved by both John and Bernie Taupin and deemed a bookend of sorts to their first hit "Your Song". Taupin has said he is surprised he wrote it, and said in an interview, "I think 'Sacrifice' is one of the best songs we've written." The song is not a typical love song, but rather a song about a breakup of a marriage where the loss of the relationship is "no sacrifice".
    -from wikipedia

    Knowing the husband was tempted, weak, gave in to the desires of his flesh. He became one with the woman he had an affair with. The wife was so heartbroken because the husband was unfaithful, dishonest, and desired another woman instead of only her. She felt her husband did not really loved her. Perhaps if they made love she will always remember the time when her husband touched and kissed another woman. I understand why most wives can't forgive their husbands.
    It's up to those married couples if they would stay through thick and thin or they will break up and move forward with their lives.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 18th, 7:33pm report


    Reading a lot of the answers interesting. My interpretation is how easy it can be to cheat but also a partner who has cheated and regrets it they both still love each other but don't know how to get it back. A song to me can mean many things to the listener



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 16th, 6:02pm report


    The guy has a fling with another woman then decides it looked better "just passing through". He ends the fling but doesn't get back with wife. No longer together but he keeps the child and "it is no sacrafice" to do so. I think it is their little girl he dances with in the video. The wife can't be with him or the child because her heart is shattered. It shows him by the cradle and later with the girl at 5 or so.



  8.  

    anonymous
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    May 29th, 5:00am report


    As Bernie has written personal songs about Elton's life before, I felt a very strong to elton's life at that time. We do know it's a very sad song talking about The parting and divorce of two people who have drifted apart. The person with whom the singer was having an affair is never a gender specified and the scent of either sex could be lingering in the singer's mind. The song seemed to be so relevant in Elton's own marital issues as his marriage was ending and they was no way to mix thier two worlds.
    And in the video, which was made later, the way he looks at his ring and speaks about living in two separate worlds is basically exactly what they were doing. It just seems so touching and speaks to a sad situation that could not be changed regardless have hell they may have tried. However,I still cannot figure out where the meaning of "No Sacrifice" would come into this. Any ideas?

    The song "I don't want to go on with you like that," seems as though it would be the precurser up to the final parting as described in "Sacrifice." Couldn't you just hear Renate having that talk with him after years living apart due to hiw dedication to his work while she was at home seeing the tabloids splashing such negative information about him from the start of thier marriage! I could understand that she just couldn't take it anymore. During that time, when he finally did come back home following his vocal cord surgery he locked himself in his room in the depth of depression--so very understandable if you feel your life is coming apart at the seams and everything is crashing down!
    None of us knows the full story but as it has been told is told anyway, he withdraws from everyone and it makes sense that she had to find a way to get into his room to talk with him as he locked himself away in despair.
    The way emotional feeling I've gotten led to my personal interpretation. So very soulful (that so often has come out in his music) and it seems like it could be a very spot on painful row between a married couple in just such a situation.
    This song brought back all the feelings and the difficult decision I struggled with and struggled with hanging in for better times. I finally had to come to terms with reality and make a final decision to leave because I just couldn't go on like that anymore.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 12th, 4:30pm report


    The song is about a married man who allowed his marriage to be ruined by his mistress he can't help
    But want more of his mistress which causes no love in his marriage
    I can't say much but I think I understand the song
    It's a lesson



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 4th, 2018 7:42am report


    Just about the fact that marriage is no sacrifice.
    You once said yes (a simple word), but if it doesn't work you don't have to stay together.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 27th, 2017 8:26am report


    I just wrote the below, and I don't think that it is accurate. I keep going thru progressively more pessimistic interpretations of what the song is about. When I first heard it on the radio, I thought that the song was saying that it's "no sacrifice" to do the things that are necessary to keep the relationship going. Maybe I like that interpretation the best, but that's not what the song is about.

    In Wikipedia it says: "The song is not a typical love song, but rather a song about a breakup of a marriage where the loss of the relationship is "no sacrifice".

    What I now think that the song is about is: If all that is happening in the marriage or relationship is that you are tearing each other apart, it's better to separate, and it's "no sacrifice" to do this.

    The above explains lyrics like, "sweet deceit comes calling and negativity lands" or "mutual misunderstanding after the fact, sensitivity builds a prison in the final act, we lose direction, no stone unturned (too hurt each other with)".

    Also, I don't think that in the song they are talking about one of the people having an affair.

    The song is optimistic only in the sense of if you're in such a bad relationship, and nothing can be done, it's OK to let go and separate. And separating will be "no sacrifice".

    In the video, it looks like the man and woman have adjusted to, and accepted the separation towards the end.



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 27th, 2017 8:47am report


    The meaning of the song is clear. It's in the lyrics. And it explained in Wikipedia. "It's no sacrifice at all, it's just two hearts living in two separate worlds" It's no sacrifice to separate. The sacrifice is in resisting temptation, staying together, keeping the love alive, making it work" But both partners have to be dedicated to this.



  13.  

    anonymous
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    May 12th, 2017 5:43am report


    "Sacrifice" is inspired both by the Aretha Franklin song "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" and described as a Percy Sledge song by Elton John. The song is beloved by both John and Bernie Taupin and deemed a bookend of sorts to their first hit "Your Song". Taupin has said he is surprised he wrote it, and said in an interview, "I think 'Sacrifice' is one of the best songs we've written." The song is not a typical love song, but rather a song about a breakup of a marriage where the loss of the relationship is "no sacrifice."

    The video, which follows the song's lyrics, portrays a man and woman having problems in their relationship after being married and raising a daughter. After they go their separate ways, the man raises his daughter alone

    Good interpretation from the comment below.


    Prefers to be alone/ Single Since Birth



  14.  

    anonymous
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    May 12th, 2017 5:19am report


    I agree with everyone that this song is about a Broken marriage but I am not sure who had an affair. I actually think no one had a pan affair, just a mutual misunderstanding. But like many broken marriages the trouble is because of two hearts living in separate worlds. what keeps the couple together is sensitivity to their vows and family but staying in a marriage with no love and affection creates a prison not a home. It will eventually turn tears of sadness and loneliness into anger and distrust, jealousy and endless senseless yelling and arguing, resulting in cold cold heart. But because of their love for their children they stay in the marriage. The thought of breaking up the family is a greater loss than both can imagine and so "it's no sacrifice" at all. The family is worth fighting for. There is hope, for those who connect to this song because you know first hand the pain this song is conveying, fight for your marriage, find help, make time to learn who you each have grown up to be. It's like that other love song, "do you like Pina colada." Praying for protection over your marriage! God bless!



  15.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 10th, 2017 1:54pm report


    We need to sacrifice all our life !



  16.  

    anonymous
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    May 28th, 2016 5:05am report


    This is a very deep song about a marriage that ended in separation..

    I meant, the wife didn't forgive him.

    -GazerOfTruth



  17.  

    anonymous
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    May 28th, 2016 5:59am report


    This song is a very deep song about a marriage that ended in separation. Saw the real meaning of this when I checked it at wikipedia. Watched the video at youtube and it seems the husband is fighting for his love and for their marriage and daughter but the wife didn't forgive her. It seems the wife longs for her husband even if they are now divorced.

    To the wife who made a comment yesterday.. It's sad to hear about your situation. I guess you should have a conversation with your husband about your thoughts and feelings. I believe you guys married a long time ago because you both loved each other and you guys stayed married for 13 years because you still love each other. Both of you agreed to get married before because you both wanted to be with each other for the rest of your lives and to have a family. I don't know your husband but maybe there was a reason why he had an affair. Perhaps both of you should forgive each other, be honest, and give each other a chance. Best Wishes.

    -GazerOfTruth



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