All is fair in love and War
“All is fair in Love and War” A beautifully articulated quote of philosophy that endured the distresses of time. Fair is a strange term to begin with, since everyone has heard the term "Life is not fair." This brings the sense of contradictions or the idea of something may be a permanent exception into the play. So this isn’t logical as it is an emotional perception of just conquests. All is fair in love and war means that we can suspend the law in these situations. Nothing is out of bounds when it comes to love and war.
If we are at war with someone and they want us dead, certainly it would be foolish to assume that they aren't going to come after us with full force. Whether it be by trickery, or sheer numbers that one side eventually will prevail. The clear truth is that whatever the means by which one conquers to a position of power is usually not so important, as is the message or underlying idea for action. Maybe the morality of a leader faltered, or questionable tactics might have been used during warfare. Although the approach was not always honored by moral integrity, it was upheld by the loyalty for alliances related to a cause.
In love, logic and fairness need not apply. The heart speaks in ways the mind could only dream of communicating in. All the biological rhythm, hormones, lust, attraction, passion resembles like fire which is impossible to control, but easily to manipulate. If you view a romantic conquest like war, you realize that they have dramatic similarities. One such is a sacrificial nature to ensure the success of a cause, or the happiness of another in the case of love. War means war, and victory will be sought by whatever means necessary, and the same concept holds for true love. Some people would go to the ends of the earth for the benefit of those whom have captured their heart. So all is fair by whatever the means, the end is justified.
I don't think anyone has addressed (more than cursorily, anyway) the part of the poster's question that asks, "What are its origins?"—so I'll focus on answering that. J. A. Simpson, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (1982) offers this lineage for the proverb:
All's fair in love and war
[1578 LYLY Euphues I. 236 Anye impietie may lawfully be committed in loue, which is lawlesse.] 1620 T. SHELTON tr. Cervantes' Don Quixote II. xxi. Love and warre are all one. .. It is lawfull to use sleights and stratagems to .. attaine the wished end. 1845 G. P. R. JAMES Smuggler II. iv. In love and war, every strategem is fair, they say. 1850 F. E. SMEDLEY Frank Fairlegh xlix. "You opened the letter!' .. 'How was I to read it if I hadn't? All's .. fair in love and war, you know.' 1972 J. I. M. STEWART Palace of Art xii. 'Do you really suppose I would tell?' he demanded coldly. 'Might do. All's fair in——.'
But between Shelton in 1620 and James in 1845, an interesting alternative commentary on love and war was developing in North America. From Bartlett Whiting, Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases (1977):
L230 In Love and war no time should be lost
1777 Munford Patriots 451: In love and war no time should be lost. 1784 Washington Writings 28.2: Favorable moments in war, as in love, once lost are seldom regained.
Martin Manser, The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs (2002) cites the Smedley quotation from 1850 as the first instance of the proverb in its current standard form, but then notes:
The proverb was first recorded with different wording, in 1620 [presumably meaning Shelton's translation of Don Quixote]. In modern use an extra word is often added to or substituted for part of the proverb, as in "All's fair in love—an' war—an' politics" (George Ade, County Chairman, 1903).
Linda and Roger Flavell, Dictionary of Proverbs and Their Origins (1993) offers this longer view of "all's fair in love and war":
The assumption behind this proverb is that the end justifies the means.This has long been recognized in the theatre of war. Livy hinted at it two millennia ago: To those to whom war is necessary it is just (HISTORY c 10 BC). Courtship, too, may entail the use of any means if one is to emerge victorious and take the prize. These excesses of the heart are considered forgiveable because love has long been understood as a force which cannot be restrained: Both might and malice, deceyte and treacherye, all periurye, anye impietie may lawfully be committed in loue, which is lawlesse (John Lyly, EUPHUES, 1579).
The link between love and fighting for a kingdom was already established in a proverbial form by 1606: An old saw hath bin, Faith's breach for love and kingdoms is no sin (Marston, THE FAWN). Later in the same century Aphra Behn writes: Advantages are lawful in love and war (THE EMPEROR AND THE MOON, 1677). There was also the strong contemporary influence of DON QUIXOTE by Cervantes. Publication of Part One was in 1605 and it was soon translated into English. One passage runs [in Spanish, literally translated, presumably, since this isn't Stewart's language]: Love and war are the same thing, and stratagems and policy are as allowable in the one as in the other.
Rosalind Fergusson, The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs (1983)—same title and publisher as Manser's book above, but almost twenty years older and completely different in content—identifies several allied proverbs, though it doesn't identify where these other sayings come from:
Love is lawless.
Love is a game in which both players always cheat.
War, hunting, and love are as full of trouble as pleasure.
Advise none to marry or to go to war.