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The two universal concepts of chaos and cosmos had an assertive role and function in the
formation of the religious-philosophical perception of ancient Greek people. These two concepts
sometimes manifest themselves apparently and sometimes in a disguised manner in all aspects of
the life, mentality and cultural heritage of Greek society. Understanding the origin and the real
cause of whatever occurs in the universe is not an easy task therefore the human mind mostly
refers to its intuitive capabilities although human reason attempts to identify the center of
meaning of those phenomena, this center constantly changes its form and sign systems,
going through certain stages of transformation and transfigurations, therefore the process of
recognizing and identifying should be guided through the same direction of those changes
otherwise human mind will perpetually lose the possibility of identifying the sign system.
Chaos, by its very essence is unknown and unidentified, cosmos is known and
understandable. Yet since the chaos lies as the basis of cosmos it exists within the cosmos as a
non-retreated shadow (as it is stated in ancient Buddhist texts) therefore cosmos becomes
unidentifiable concept which requires a new outlook for analysis. This new outlook is art
through which the closed curtains of cosmos is removed.
By removing the closed curtains, the art itself appears within the closed curtains, and
we have no other choice than opening those closed curtains.
The mystery of art lies within the spirit (as human beings are the mystery of the whole
universe therefore the understanding of human beings will lead to the understanding of the whole
universe). Wherever the spirit is absent the mystery is absent either therefore sprit is
synonymous to mystery, without mystery there would be no art, therefore the mystery of art must
be searched not within the art itself but within the spirit, which is the incarnation of art.
Culture is the essence of mans existence in the universe an indispensible part of his inner
world. Man cannot survive in universe outside this inner world. He exists in nature (by nature
we mean the whole world of object) but he is confined to his own inner world. Within the

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 2

framework of his cultural understanding he will be collapsed as an intellectual and spiritual

entity if he is taken away from this world.
Chaos is enclosing mans existence in all apparent and disguised meanness. Chaos exists
deeply in human soul and it function in all emotional laurels of his existence. What illuminates
human soul and takes him out of this darkness is cosmos. Cosmos function at a mentalintellectual level, as his inner composition (without which human beings could no longer
survive). In general it can be stated that the whole existence of human beings is established upon
chaos-cosmos relation. The French philosopher M.Merleau Ponty1says human body is not an
object, it is a situation, the same forces are applicable to the realm of culture either, which is also
identified as a situation being located between two opposing forces within the same system,
therefore by understanding culture we will be able to understand its internal situation which is
the chaos-cosmos relationship. The formation of culture is closely related to the formation of
chaos-cosmos relation. The development of culture, its synchronic structure, the internal and
external relations of its whole system are closely related to the degree, nature and dynamics of
the transition from chaos to cosmos. It could be stated that the route of cultural movements
passes through the transitory progression of chaos to cosmos showing its synchrony (present)
situation meanwhile presenting a kind of diachronic nature. On the one hand the past functions
as an experience and on the other hand the future appears as a possibility. It could be stated that
the culture is the same as the model of cosmos comprised within the overall existential system of
human beings, therefore without cosmos there would be no culture. While the direction of
transitions is usually from chaos to cosmos (from disorder to other), there exists another
transitory movement from cosmos to chaos, i.e. the movement from culture to anti-culture.
Avoiding these extremely complex and enigmatic discussion, I should state that all these
concepts manifest themselves in what is known as the crown of culture, that is the art,
especially in its consistent nucleus which is the Literature. Literature not only reflects the
transition of spirit from one state into another but also it actively participates in this process
consequently in literature we see the rhythmic pulsing movement from chaos to cosmos and
vice-versa which is the result of the operation of the spiritfunctioning as the nucleus of culture.
1. Maurice Merleau Ponty (1908-1961) French phenomenological philosopher

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By applying Hegelian approach for our literary analysis which considers literature as the
function (operation) of spirit we will see that the history of western literature has passed through
several complex stages which might be regarded as the gradual development of spirit possessing
an enigmatic nature and history. Therefore, the western literary tradition acts as a part of
Christian cultural heritage, including within itself that informative center operating in the deepest
levels of Christian culture (as the nucleus does in an atom)which is the figure of Christ.
Therefore the great macro-system of western literature has immediate ties with the concept and
spirit of Christ. Each impulse or sign used in the above mentioned macro-system signifies the
sign system of Christian mentality, its structure, formal frameworks, semantic constructions and
the logic of development. Even those works that are somehow categorized as atheist literary
works are closing associated with the concept of Christ and its inner impulses.
Thats why, all literary works that are a part of Christian cultural heritage (including
Armenian literature either) regardless of their ethical, linguistic and historical differences have
many things in common, they are internally associated with each other, and with a greater or
lesser intensity, have passed through the same developmental stages. These changes that lead to
the development of the Christian literary tradition are not necessarily imposed from outside,
rather, there exists as an inner energy deriving from Christian ethical tradition which functions
as the motivating force of all these changes.
As T.S. Eliot asserts; culture and religion are two sides of the same coin. Culture can never
grow or develop in the absence of religion.
Religion provides the framework for culture. The informative center of culture, its inner
layer, seems to be incomprehensible for objective observer who looks from outside. This center
lies within the boundaries of religion. Those who sought it outside the religion they fail to grasp
anything because it doesnt exist anywhere else. Here I dont want to focus too much on this
discussion because it requires lengthy and detailed analysis. The only point that I would mention
is the fact that art specially literature lies between religion and culture. From one side it is the
messenger of religion in the realm of culture and from the other side it is the consul of culture
in the domain of religion. Therefore art brings culture and religion together and establishes a
solid and integrated construction. Within this construction, the culture smashes the dogmatism of
religion and the religion restricts the spontaneity and the unconstrained nature of the art. (On the

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 4

other hand the mechanical nature of art that has the same destructive effect as the extreme
spontaneity.) By its very nature, literature is responsible for all the things that the spirit is able to
gain in the realm of religion, culture and in a much broader sense for the accomplishments and
failures of human existence. Therefore, literature is obliged to acknowledge its nature (because
literature knows and acknowledges everything except itself) otherwise it cannot achieve its very
purpose (and it could deeply harm human existence).
The purpose of this study is to analyze the inner organic interrelations that exist among
literature, culture and religion from a historical approach. Christianity as the basis of the western
culture determines the whole spiritual-epistemological basis of the western culture, meanwhile
culture serves as an underlying construction specifying the from and nature of literature, and its
structural and philosophical orientations. From the other side literature exerts its influence upon
culture, and culture has a deep impact on religion. Therefore these concepts exit in the state of
mutual interaction and none of them can survive without the other. Therefore all the questions
that arise in the realm of each of these concepts are solved not within their own domain but
within the realm of the other concept. The questions that are arisen in the realm in of literature
(and art in general) will not be answered within the same domain, and the same is true about
culture and religion.
The historical development of literature runs within the framework of the development of
culture, and here we see that this historical period is mainly divided in to two distinct eras. (here
we are only talking about the western world without considering the literature of antic world or
the oriental countries which are established on a different religion-spiritual basis.) these two
periods are Middle-ages and the Renaissance. The former beginning from IV-V centuries from
Augustinus Aurelus2 and ending to Dante Alighieri3 the later beginning from Dante Alighieri
up to XX century. By extending the Renaissance period up to present time I would like to
emphasize, upon the significance of certain concepts in literature such as the inner unity of
culture, sharing the same center of meaning, underlying the man centered universe. We may find
the dominance of these concepts on the literary movements and stylistic approaches of the
literature of 17 to 20th centuries appearing as the different perceptions and interpretation of
2. Astinus Aurelius (354-430)- One of the great fathers of Roman Catholic church
3. Dante Alighieri ( 1265- 1321) Major Italian poet of Middle Ages .

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Christs figure. These different perceptions create different attitudes and outlooks in the realm of
culture, art, literature and human existence in general. The Christ-man figure of Renaissance
period substitutes the Christ-God figure of Middle Ages. During this process the culture and
what is basically known as the crown of culture i.e. the art passes through a reconstructive and
recoding stage. The dichotomy between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is in fact the
dichotomy that exists between God and Man. Relying upon that, they move apart from each
other but ultimately they become unified within the Christ figure as well. The Christ figure
equilibrates the two opposing cultures within his cosmic existence. The modern man has to
choose, he is forced to choose his path and the nature of his existence in a state of complete
freedom which he has already gained. Like the biblical St. Peter who after denying Christ , finds
him once again and revives his faith this time permanently, because this time ha made his choice
as a free man.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 6

I. The Mythological Figure of Christ

In the development of culture and literature
Middle Ages-Christ as God

We may notice that the cultural development of post-antique period of the western world is
distinctly divided in to two periods: the Middle Ages (from 5th century to the mid 13th century)
and the Renaissance beginning from the second half of 13th century up to end of 16th century or
the mid 20th century. This division might seem inaccurate and quite controversial, because 14th
century is normally considered as the beginning of Renaissance period (the death of Cervantes
and Shakespeare in 1616) and this is a period following by three dominant literary movements
of Classicism, Romanticism and Modernism stays in sharp contrast with Middle Ages .
In spite of possessing dissimilar characteristics, each of these movements followed the

epistemological guideline which had already started in Renaissance period and was

passing its developmental stages, each stage corresponding with a specific movement and their
combination corresponding to the great macro-system which was called Faustian macrosystem by Oswald Spengler4r including within itself the whole cultural structure of the western
world up to the 20th century. Spengler believes that the meaning has become exhausted from its
semantic nucleus, the existence has become deprived of its spiritual dimension, what substitutes
the meaning is the anti-cultural machine or the mechanical-mechanistic mentality as opposing
to the creative-spiritual culture. In western languages the world culture is derived from the root
cult in which the sense of worshiping is quiet apparent while in Armenian language the word
MESHAGOOYT (culture) does not include the sense of cult, religion or worshiping, but what is
being emphasized is the concept of cultivation (MESHAGEL), transforming the natural
phenomenon and adding some humanistic aspects . Therefore semantically the two words are
synonymous but etymologically they are different. Thats why in Armenian language the two
words are used equally in different contexts due to the contextual requirements.
The spiritual-creative crises is in fact the crises of the man , because this is only man
who is considered as a spiritual-creative being having the capability of incarnating the spirit
4. Oswald Spengler- (1885-1936) German historian

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within his own being. Therefore what Oswaldo Spengler refers to as semantic deprivation, the
exhaustion of meaning and the substitution of the spiritual by mechanical-mechanistic elements
he is actually referring to the concept of man who used to be, the epistemological center and
nucleus, the categorical -imperative meaning and direction of the Renaissance culture all of
which serving as the basic structure upon which the foundation of the whole Renaissance
mentality lies. The decomposition of structure shows that the nucleus could no longer provide
the vital functioning center for the whole system, and at this point the disintegration of the
whole system occurs. In other words, what we face is a cultural collapse, since the man, who
functions as the governing center of the whole system, creating the vital energy no longer exists.
What Fredrick Nietzsche5 refers to as death of god is in fact the death of man in literature.
Nietzsche wishes to overthrow God, but in fact his attack is directed toward man, whose image
of downfall was quite understandable for him.
It is quite obvious that Nietzsches statement has a metaphorical connotation, if he is
talking about God he cannot die, if he is dead he is no longer a God. Therefore what
Nietzsche is talking about is the specific perception of man about God, the mask which
metaphorically speaking god is wearing, this mask is perceived in different ways, due to the
various approaches and perception of man in different periods. This is what we obviously see in
Dantes Paradise(/which changes due to the degree of my perception/) God is unchangeable; our
perception of God changes, and if that mask has changed it means that man has changed either.
F. Nietzsche was the first who had observed the exhaustion and termination of man in culture
finally leading to cataclysm. Mary people criticize Nietzsche for his anti-humanistic approaches,
but the truth is that Nietzsche is only reporting what a genius man could observe
On the other hand, overcoming man is a central concept in his philosophy. man is
something that should be overcome says Nietzsche, considering his developmental outlook (a
new man should be born, who is no longer a man but a superman). Time has verified the truth
of Nietzsches statements. In western art and literature immediately after Nietzsches statement
we saw drastic changes occur. As a consequence of these changes man becomes deprived of his
aesthetic dimension and turns into a shapeless abstraction. (/shape without form, gesture without
5. Fredrick Nietzsche (1844-1900)- German philosopher

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 8

motion/. T. S. Eliot-The Hollow Men) the aesthetic mentality of 20th century could be defined as
an attempt to move away from man as a self exhaustive entity, to abandon his forms and
circumstances and to look forward to an open space where man as a tangible, this worldly being
or concrete existence is no more the focus of attention. It tries to reach a domain where man no
longer exists. The upholders of this mentality try to attain a territory where only pure art and the
abstract aesthetic forms and structures are present.


If man as an object and epistemological-informative center has been exhausted and

overcome it means that man is capable of following an evolutionary directive, including a
beginning-progression and an end. By tracing the origin of man we may find out that he has
entered the domain of art and literature since early Renaissance period, the initial impulse of
which had already started in mid 13th century by the appearance of the new-sweet style in
poetry which aimed to explore man and his world with all its implications. The western macro
system from 13th up to the beginning of 20 century focuses on man and his world therefore that
period could be defined as a humanistic or man-centered period possessing its unique
epistemological center which functions and manifests itself in all dimensions of mans existence.
Within that man-centered micro system, the existence of man develops as a musical theme
which is formed and elaborated

due to the interactions that it establishes with its own

A pieces of music ends whenever its theme stops developing , therefore a piece of music is
a closed construction, the integrity and unity of which is supported by its theme. When the
theme ends, the music ends either and its continuation becomes meaningless because it loses it
integrity and coherence, shatters into pieces and finally ends.
In spite of its geographical and chronological diversity (including different nationalities,
countries, languages and different time periods, different artistic movements which follow one
another) the western culture (by western culture we mean the Christian culture, because the
foundation of western culture is the religious-philosophical conception of Christianity) is a

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unified and coherent system preserving its informative indivisible center in its all components
from which the Christian cultures of different nationalities with all their external difference and
internal consistencies originate and culminate.
Christianity is like a shining star which illuminates all Christian communities and cultural
systems with different intensity. (the same is true about Armenian culture either which serves as
an immediate upholder of Christian culture).
The macro system of Christian culture which follows the antique culture, by its very
essence is divided into two systems that in spite of lying on two contrasting poles are closely
related to each other as the two subcategories of a bigger system containing the epistemological
center of the one which preserves the integrity of the whole system. The Christian spirit is
equally present both in Middle Ages and in Renaissance period. Their opposition lies in their
function and their perception of this world. The structure of the culture, its direction and its
epistemological identity depends upon the perception and interpretation of the concept of Christ,
depending on the fact that on which aspect of Christ we focus.
In modern times, Christ figure as a dynamic entity presents new insights and outlooks due
to the intellectual capacity of each person. The Christ figure didnt remain the same during the
passage of time, it walks along each individual. The mentality, emotions, the sense of curiosity
and inquisitiveness, the lifestyle, the world model of each individual depends upon how he
perceives the Christ figure, and this acts as the fulcrum for individuals

mentality. The

equilibrium of this fulcrum depends upon the absolute equilibrium of Christ figure the
determining and ultimate purpose upon which the dominate principle of culture lies.
By equilibrium we mean the absolute balance and harmony that exists between man and
God within Christs figure, through which the individual gains the opportunity to reestablish
his lost connection with God and to recognize himself as the son of God and to overcome those
forces that are against him, keeping him on the path of guilt and death. The theological mentality
of Christianity (not only the theological but also its aesthetic and scientific mentality either) tries
to appreciate and interpret the inner equilibrium and harmony of Christ figure, the pinnacle of
which is portrayed in the mystery of Golgotha when the doors of heaven and earth and the only
path leading to them were opened for the man.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 10

Understanding Christ figure means attaining the harmony which exists in the unification of
God and man, when man reveals the spirit of God within himself (God becomes human, and the
man acquires divinity, it means each of them acquires the qualities of the other in other to
overcome boundaries and to reach the that magnificent and glorified moment when God meets
the man and man returns to the period prior to the commitment of the original sin and finally
God forgives him.)
During the last two thousand years, the western man has been searching for Christ within
his own soul. He has passed through several developmental stages and has gained certain
inevitable intellectual spiritual achievements leading to the concept of Christs equilibrium.
This concept should deeply penetrate human soul and while associating with his inner
world, should become the ultimate guideline of his thoughts and actions.
In history, these degrees are defined as the appearance of successive artistic movements
and directions that could be considered as the divided constituents of a much greater whole. i. e.
the Christ equilibrium. Each of these constituent segments appears at specific historical period
with definite chorological logic.
It is impossible to bring them out of those chronological and geographical limits, since
their existence is meaningful only within those limits. Thus, those constituents namely the
Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Classicism, Romanticism and Modernism appear only at a
definite and specified time period perform their function and then retreat to the background and
offer their position to a new movement which functions as a new manifestation of the spirit. The
one that retreats remains in the depth of the soul and the later proceeds to eternity (where there
is no time scale).
From eternity, their light will shine upon the periods which come next while their roots still
remain in the depth of soul. On the surface structure the different cultural movements seems to
have contradictory natures, while in fact they have originated from the same root, that is the
depth of soul, functioning as the different segments of one whole, and following the same
path. the path is important says Hegel, considering the movement of spirit. Nicolas Koosanos
(1401-1464) says: Oh god, now I see you within the unification of contradictions where the
angles of heaven are protecting it.


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On an internal plan, watching the complete structure of the western culture constructing
around its internal epistemological center (the absolute equilibrium of Christ) and following its
historical path of two thousand years that is the path of approaching and withdrawing from the
very center which leads to equilibrium, we notice that the general outline of the above mentioned
structure is divided in to two systems, each of them possessing its own epistemological center
and its own unique mask which acts as the different phenomenal aspects of the same face.
In other words, the absolute equilibrium of Christ is subcategorized in to two systems. In the
first one, Christ is perceived as God and in the second one as a Man. This is the basis upon which
all criteria and conventions of artistic movements and their related deep structures (such as
theological, mythological, historical, philosophical considerations) originate. The first one is called
God-centered and the second one Man centered system which operate as contradictory impulses
across the surface structure, while in deep structure they become unified. This opposing movement
in surface and deep structure which constitutes to the formation of Christs mythological acts as the
motivating force for the development of western culture. This occurs when God and Man become
separate entities, one of them moving to foreground and covering the other which remains in the
background. Thats why in God-centered cultural systems man is presented as an indefinite,
impersonal and infinite existence (contrary to his real quantities i. e. being definite, personal and
limited). In man-centered culture, God is defined as specified and individualistically limited
existence. (the qualities that opposes Gods existence). These metaphorical conceptions are the
consequences of perceiving God from a single dimension, and violating the equilibrium of Christ
that by passing through centuries is trying to reach the third stage, the one that is still absent from
the other two:( The Reality is the upholder of the future-Hegel)
In this new era, we are witnessing the emergence of cultural system, that is the
incorporation of the previously established two systems into a new mythological figure, which
has an integrated perception of Christ as its basis. This new perception, by no means opposes the
teachings of the Bible, because the truth never denies another truth, but it merely confirms it.
Here, Christ appears as having a comprehensive characteristics, possessing an esoteric existence
as a mere equilibrated spirit, neither as God nor as man but as God and man simultaneously.
Therefore, after acquiring different nomination, the new culture should be based upon a new
perception of Christianity, including within itself the fundamental principles of the previous two

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 12

systems (God-centered and man cantered) and present itself as spirit while facing cosmos and
as cosmos while facing spirit. Man exists as the eye of spirit observing the infinity of spirit and
reincarnating in the metaphysical domain of the spirit where the borderline between the reason
and emotion vanishes. Here as the result of the unification of emotion

and reason and

connecting with cosmos, the human action appears. In this case the emotion identifies itself with
the reason and the reason identifies itself with the human action and vice versa).

The God centered culture corresponds to Middle Ages which begins in 5th century as a well
formed, independent and integrated mental system. It passed through the developmental
historical stages and reaches to the point of complete evolution (as the development of a musical
theme) and finally ends in late 13th century.
Here I have no intention of making a detailed analysis of the art, culture and literature of
Middle Ages about which numerous researches have been previously done. Attempting to enter
this field of study is just like swimming in a deep ocean, It seems that this period is one of the
most complex, mysteries and enigmatic periods of the history of art. Here, I am going to
emphasize upon

some of the most important aspects of that period which has a direct

correspondence with our study. Comparing Middle Ages with the antique period, we may find
the following principle distinctions:

The basis of the ancient Greek art is the concept of cosmos (the word cosmos

encompasses the concept of regulation, the idea which is absent from Armenian DIYEZERK
(cosmos) word, although semantically these two words are synonymous)


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Cosmos is understood as a spatial concept, which enters into the confined boundaries of
body and manifests itself as its corresponding spirit (Hegelian principle). According to this
principle body is perceived as a limited entity acting as a closed cosmos, a self contained
entity, having no interest in establishing contact with the outer world, since in the outer world
only chaos exists, an entity which is in sharp contrast with cosmos. (as we know in Greek
mentality, universe is a limited entity) if cosmos is limited then each individual is a limited
cosmos therefore its existence couldnt be continued into the body of another person. . The eyes
of the Greek sculpture are shut (he doesnt look at the observer) and his body is naked (open).
His eyes are shut because he is concentrated on his own existence (inner cosmos) and the
observer is not important for him.

The basis of medieval art lies upon the perception of the concept of time.. The

spirit manifests itself as history, an event. The universe is unlimited,

since the spirit is

unlimited either. (the boundaries of spirit are not specified). The unlimited spirit penetrates in to
the body and liberates it from all its boundaries, deforms its natural composition and reveals its
true nature in the spiritual world. In medieval sculpture, the body is a spatial limited entity ,
therefore it is kept hidden from the observer but its eyes are open because they are considered as
the windows of the soul, through which it can penetrate through the observers soul stay there
and become eternal.
In the religious icon-observer relationship, the active side, unlike the Greek sculpture, is
the icon itself. He is the one who starts communicating with the observer, he is the one who
imposes his own rules and conventions , and the observer just accepts everything passively.
Through the open eyes of the sacred image (icon ), his spirit looks at the world, follows the
observer, penetrates in to his soul, analyzes his spiritual world and merges with his inner values
and beliefs and finally gains a spiritual significance. The icon is not made up of human soul, but
of divine spirit to whom the human soul is subject to. The human soul acts in the second plan, as
a background upon which the reflections of images of the divine spirit are seen. The distance
between the two plans is the distance between the human soul and the divine spirit, and between
them lies the universe which is defeated as the result of the activity of the divine spirit. Hegel
says: in the absolute religions the image of God is not created by the human soul. God, himself
due to certain principles appears as a self contained entity and an absolute, independent self

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 14

consciousness therefore in such a relationship the active part is the icon , while in Greek culture
it is the observer.
In the antique culture, cosmos is the ultimate form of regularity and harmony and the
world of gods is perceived as the absolute beauty, which acts as the secret of cosmos, its
epistemological and ontological center, consequently the beauty is perceived as the truth, in
other words the criteria for judging about the truth is beauty. The more beautiful, the more
In Middle Ages the divine spirit is the truth. When Pilate asked Christ what is the truth? he
remained silent (if he wanted to answer, obviously he would say that the truth is he himself) it is
impossible to talk about the truth, it should be illustrated. Its illustration is conceived as the
absolute beauty, because that is the illustration of divine spirit, and the divine spirit, due to the
Neo-Platonists claim, is the absolute beauty, which shines upon the material world and makes it
beautiful either. (the beauty of the nature is the shadow or reflection of the absolute beauty) the
word VOKI (divine spirit) in Indo European languages means God, but in Armenian language
the word VOGI does not necessarily mean God , it means the divine spirit. In Russian language
[the word God is the same as both spirit and god.]
The suffering divine spirit (the crucified Christ) could not

be plastic, physical (or

psychological ) suffering causes facial or bodily deformation. Apollo is not a suffering god, the
Greek gods do not know anything about pain and suffering, they are plastic, acting as the
upholders of the cosmic harmony. Deformation is the essential feature of divine spirit, which is
observable in the figure of Christ. The central mythological figure of culture, art and literature of
the middle ages, its epistemological significance is Christ, his teaching and his existence. All the
sign systems of the Middle Age culture find their original reference in the existence of Christ
figure. All phenomena of Middle Age culture are encoded and signified through the
epistemological relation they establish with o Christ/ God , Christ/ Man figure in which the God
like dimension is foregrounded and the equilibrium of Christ figure is violated. The origin of
this violation lies in the concept of deformation (deformation of Christ figure) in the middle age
thought, therefore deformation is the process which is being imposed upon the art as the
outcome of the intervention of divine spirit.


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In God centered art, the ultra sensational perceptions (a sensation beyond the five senses,
are closely associated with contemplation and intuitive imagination. This type of sensation has
its origins in the world of spirit, it comes from the above, not the physical world) manifest
themselves within the sensational entities. The spiritual sparkle penetrates the individual
(subject) binding him with the world above. The individual doesnt find himself within God, but
finds God within himself, therefore the artistic creation turns into a kind of epiphany, through
which mans true nature becomes illuminated, liberating him from physical aspects and
drawing him toward the absolute. Since within the soul of each individual lies that sparkle,
which is the sign of the existence of God in mans soul (the eyes sparkle) therefore the physical
aspect appears in the second plan, and if that sparkle disappears (of course it doesnt disappear
completely, because

in that case man will stop being a human) the physical sensational

dimension of the individual will be ruined , it will rebel against the will of God, therefore it will
be doomed to fail.
Lets go back to Hegel, who presents the deepest analysis of the medieval Christianity (in
The phenomenology of Mind, The Philosophy of Religion, Aesthetic, The Philosophy of
History and other individual works). Comparing to the classical art ( ancient Roman or Greek)
which is considered as the pinnacle of artistic creativity and is served as a criteria for judgment,
the medieval period is a non-creative era. The true art is the religious art, but there is no need
for that kind of art, if God himself has the appearance of nature: for example, if he looks like the
sun or river. There is no need for art, if the truth and the external appearance of God has a
definite human or animalistic shape and its medium is light. Art begins whenever the human
figure is absent and only his image exists in the mind as the reflection of Gods presence, the one
that we see in Buddhas teachings.
Christ as the embodiment of the abstract figure of God is the central mythological figure
and the energetic nucleus of medieval art that gives life and energy to the whole system. Roman
Catholic Church accepts the idea of the equilibrium of God and Man within Christ figure, but
during Middle Ages the Christ figure was perceived from its godlike dimension and the
humanistic dimension was seen as a background setting or an obscure sketch, that shines dimly
on the God-like dimension. Therefore the life, suffering and death of God becomes the central
theme of the art and literature of this period. Everything revolves around this central thematic

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 16

axis developing and illuminating various connotations and their inner diversity becomes unified
within that axis.
Another thematic axis related to the three circles of mans existence, that is his death
(end of earthy life) suffering (struggle against sin) and life (salvation) functions on the reverse
direction. These two reverse directions met each other in the second circle which is


suffering. Both sides suffer. God is suffering for man and man is suffering for God. The suffering
of man is related to the suffering of God. Man repeats within himself the existence of God giving
him the possibility to return to his soul and to establish a reconciliation. The final circle of this
thematic line is the Resurrection. God is resurrected on

earth so that the man could be

resurrected in the heaven. As we hear in J. S. Bachs cantata Oh God you entered the prison so
that our prison wouldnt last forever. Here prison symbolizes earthly life. When man suffers
for God he becomes resurrected. In the heart of the two sufferings or in the center of the two
thematic lines (God approaching man and man approaching God) lies the energetic nucleus
which is called Love. The origin of this love is God; this love comes from God and penetrates
in to the human soul, establishing a link between two alien existences. If man rejects this love
which has been offered to him by God (the Greek language the wordagape is used for this love)
then he loses the only chance of life that has been offered to him. The central motif of God
centered culture is Mans love to God which is the reversed image of the love of God toward
man. This love receives its corresponding image in the sacred icons of The Mother and the Son
(Mary and Jesus), in church music and also in the religious songs dedicated to Virgin Mary (in
medieval art, these three artistic forms were closely connected to each other, since the basis of
all three was the same energetic nucleus). The figure of The Mother hugging the child is the
most perfect

epistemological expression of love of God. Human love cannot survive

independently; it should join the love of God, since human love is the reflection of divine love
incarnated in human soul. It is just like the reflection of light that will disappear if the source of
light is dimmed, the same is true about body which is not able to survive if the soul is taken away
from it.


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For the great Danish writer and philosopher S. Kierkegaard6Abraham is the symbol of
faith, since he was ready to sacrifice his son Isaac for God (the strangest and the most
unbelievable thing that a man can do.) the basis of that strange attempt is not Love of God but
Faith. The love of God and the love of son do not contradict each other. The father loves the son
more than himself, on the other hand he loves God more than himself either, on this level the
boundaries of love disappear, as within the realm of Absolute the boundaries of relative concepts
disappear. Because of its Absolute nature, Love, has neither

limitations nor boundaries.

Abraham gave credence to his faith by scarifying his love to faith. In Old Testament, God still
hasnt manifested himself as Love , he was revealed as Faith. Faith is the first stage of the three
stages that man has to take in order to reach God (the second is Hope which cannot exist without
Faith the third one is Love which gives life to Faith and Hope) and without having Faith the
doors of heaven would be closed for man. (Like Dante who ascended from Purgatory to heaven
accompanied by the heavenly love of Beatrice who acts as the symbolic representation of Love).
In New Testament, through Christ figure, God manifests himself as Love ,and makes a
transition from the Old( Testament) to the New (Testament) which stands at a much higher
spiritual level, an unlimited realm that nothing else can take its place. This love is transmitted
from Abraham to Virgin Mary that holds the child in her arm, ready to sacrifice him for love.
God sacrifices his son to man, because Abraham had sacrificed his son to God. The thematic
conflict of Old Testament is resolved here, in the New Testament. God makes his vow, and in
this way Abrahams act becomes justified. Faith dies without love, yet Love is God himself,
Gods connection with man is established through love.
Love in religious cultures is perceived as a superior from of reason . Christ as the third
entity of the trinity, encompasses within himself the two other superior principles; i. e.Love and
reason (logos). Within the existence of Christ, non of them is able to survive without the other ,
there is no Love without reason and no reason without Love (both of them lead us to the same
destiny). The Christian holy church attempts to reach to an equilibrium between love and
reason. (the other side of Christs equilibrium). Certain circumstances have caused different
Christian churches to be inclined to one or the other entity of the Holy Trinity. The Roman
6. Soren Kierkegaard (1815- 1855)- Danish philosopher , theologian and religious author.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 18

Catholic church is more inclined to the concept of Love that exists between Christ and Virgin
Mary (thats why many psalms and religious songs of Catholic church is dedicated to Virgin
Mary, in other words they mostly worship Virgin Mary), but Lutheran Protestant church is
inclined to Holy Spirit (the third entity of Trinity) emphasizing upon the unity of spiritual
intellectual powers, and the significance of active mind and personal experience.

As we have already seen, the medieval art with its whole structure was directed toward
God, and the image of Man is seen in dim sketches somewhere hiding behind the figure of God,
lacking any face or independent nature or significance, that is a structure in which the subject is
absent, here the subject acts only as a receiver and passive doer of the action, like a mask, over
which the shadows of divine figure run. Here, the absolute dominance of Christ is felt, which, as
stated earlier is the consequence of the one dimensional perception of the Christ figure. This was
a necessary step to take, the obligatory imperative of the universal spirit, a path to cross which
will lead to the

revelation of the secret of the total equilibrium of Christ. The dynamic

development of culture, precisely shows those steps that are necessary to take, therefore the
history of culture is the history of the development of spirit. All changes and transformations
have their roots in the history of spirit and are justified by it. Although structure and history act
as oppositions (one being static the other dynamic) yet they penetrate into each other, and are
recoded by each other. Obviously, the structure has a history, it passes through certain
developmental stages, its internal epistemological controllers are always in alert position, ready
to break the boundaries and fly (when the changes of its internal quantitative semantic features


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reaches its maximum level), but history has a structure either (if the history doesnt have a stable
logical sequence, epistemological center, the totality of cause and effect relations etc it could not
be categorized as history). The central cultural theme of medieval period (here the word theme is
used in a much broader sense, it means the inseparable informative nucleus, that dominates the
whole structure) has a beginning, a development and an end. This theme is not static and it is
not permanently perceived as a metaphysically concluded conception, rather it has a starting
point and an elevated metaphysical nature and while entering the realm of consciousness and
history, it manifests itself as a dynamic, developing spirit which undergoes certain inner changes,
This theme is open and receptive toward time and resists any kind of stagnation and fixity. The
above mentioned epistemological progression of medieval culture can be traced in the literature
of medieval period from IV V up to XIII centuries.
During this period of one thousand years, different literary forms emerge, each of them
contributing to the process of the development of the medieval central theme.
These literary forms were the scriptural theological literature, the legends, morality
plays, the mysteries and religious drama, psalms, epic poems, chevalier novels and the poems of
troubadours: the development of the literary forms of this period shows that although the
literature of this period was identified as a religious one but the central theme of God/Man had
its own developmental logic due to type of relationship that is established between God and
man.( that is how much God gets closer to man and how much it moves away him)
Whenever God moves away from man the relationship becomes completely invisible and
whenever God approaches man it seems that the relationship has become observable and
tangible. Anyway, man under the dazzling light of Gods presence is unable to manifest his
whole identity.
Here, it is completely impossible to analyze the works of all Middle Age authors, this will
require the composition of numerous volumes of books which will comprise a huge library when
we notice that a great interest has recently emerged about the literary heritage of Middle Ages
in the modern world , the main cause of this interest is the fact that modern man is deeply in
need of spiritual-metaphysical literature.
It seems that modern man is searching for something permanent, stable and immortal
which can be found in the literature of Middle Ages. Modern man is unable to find a response for

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 20

this deep need in modern world, modem world is indifferent toward him although it seems that
modern man has succeeded to open up the secrets of the material world, but as far as the
metaphysical concepts are concerned he hasnt found anything in this world except
By generalizing the history of God centered literature, we could observe that God as the
inseparable epistemological center and a categorical imperative concept of Middle Ages
manifests itself in those theological-philosophical texts that had prominent literary significance.
The Confessions of Augustinus Aurelius7. The Consolation of Philosophy by Boetius8, are
examples of this type of literature no matter how closely they were associated with the traditions
of antique literature. Although the great philosophers and theologians of the late Hellenistic age
or early Middle Ages such as Philo of Alexandria9, Tertullianus10, Origen Adamantius11 , the
byzantine preachers

and theologians Hovhan Vosgeberan12, Grigor Nazianzaxi13,Grigor

Nyoosaxi14 and others wrote with poetic inspirations and personal emotional language, but it is
difficult to categorize those works as pure literary pieces although in Middle Ages the word
literature was used in a much broader sense and many literary works of that period could not be
categorized as literature in later periods.
Theological literature emerged during a period that Christianity became the dominant
religion of many Mediterranean countries and consequently many churches and religious centers
were established there . Theological studies, the interpretation of Christs teachings and
principles were an urgent need for those religious communities. The early Christians were not
capable of doing such studies, because they had an unquestionable deep belief in Christs
teachings and it seemed that they were living within Christs existence. The light (impulse) of
Christian belief for early Christians was so powerful and dazzling, that they feel no need to
7. Augustinus Aurelius (354- 430)- One of the great fathers of Roman Catholic church
8. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (480- 524) Roman philosopher
9. Philo of Alexandia- (20 B.C- 50 A.D) Greek Philosopher
10. Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus (160 A.D 220A.D) The first Christian father who produced
extensive Latin Christian literature. . He was called the father of the Latin Christianity and the founder of
Western Theology. He was the first Latin writer who used the word Trinity.
11. Origen Adamantius- (184/185- 253/254) Early Christian scholar
12. Hovhan Vosgeberan- (347-407) Armenian theologian and philosopher of Middle Ages
13. Grigor Nazianzaxi (329-389)- Armenian Christian father and theologian of Middle Ages
14. Grigor Nyoosaxi (335- 394)- Armenian Christian father and theologian of Middle Ages


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interpret them. The first Christian interpreters were the theologians and philosophers who were
educated by early Greek

philosophy and they were most prominently influenced by the

philosophy of Plato. They were attempting to understand the great metaphysical energy that was
spreading in Middle East and southern Europe. For them this impulse was not as powerful as it
was for early Sacrificial Christians, but they were able to analyze and interpret Christs
teachings which served as a basis for the formation of the theological studies of Middle Ages.
1) The Confessions of Augustinus Aurelins was the first autobiographical work of
early Christian age in which the author set forth the history of spiritual development.
Not trying to make any literal analysis of the text (considering the fact that there are
conceptual parallels between Confessions and Book of Lamentation of Grigor
Narekatsi15) it should be stated that in Confessions although on the level of subject
matter, the narrator (the I) is the author himself, but the informative center of the work
is God who acts as the origin of the whole thoughts, sensations, emotions and the
spiritual energy of the work. This energy has descended from the above on the soul
of the author.
The initial cause

of his souls progression and development is not I but God

against whom the I is simply a dead spot (/I, who is carrying my corpse/). This is
God who could resurrect the dead souls. The structure of the work (Confessions) is
based upon two epistemological oppositions, i.e. God/ Man. The former regulates the
later due to the willingness or credence of the later, the later strives to get rid of his
corpse and enter life ( which is his spiritual salvation). Here Man acts as an objects
whose every step is directed by the subject (God). Man occupies a secondary position
in this work, the primary agent (God), which is the source of creative evolution
functions beyond the visible domain.
2) In the biographies of the saints, the presence of the above (God) is more dominant. It
seems that the below (the Man), does not have any personal life or biography, his
biography first of all is related to Christ who forces Man to renounce all that is related
to earthly life. It seems that the saint is a man who has renounced his own self and by
15. Grigor Narekatsi or Gregory of Narek (951-1003) is a canonized Armenian saint, a monk, a poet, a mystical
philosopher and theologian.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 22

whom God overcomes the world(the world in this context means the evil). The distance
between the two worlds in these works is much bigger than what we see in the
Confessions of Augustines.
3) In Legends, although Man still exists in the world, but it seems that this existence is an
obligation, since Man is portrayed as the upholder of a mission from the above and
he is expected to fulfill that mission. In legends the heaven is the existence , the earth
is the non-existence , therefore Man reinforces his will-power to save himself from
the non-existence.
The hermit movement was an attempt to reinforce the will-power of mankind, although
such an attitude is quite incomprehensible for the modern man, but that is an essential
and obligatory component of the history of spirit without which the man could not
survive within any given spiritual reality. One of the most typical legends is the legend
of St. Alexis16, the only son of a Roman rich family who left his home and then
returned after many years without revealing his true identity. His father, not knowing
him ordered him to be taken in out of pity, and the servants put him in a hole under the
stairs . When it was revealed to his father in a dream who he was it was too late, for
Alexis died of hunger and neglect. This fantastic character creates different reactions.
Hegel considers it as horrible and blameworthy and even miserable, but in fact that is
an example of the ultimate from of the dedication of human soul. The greatest
temptation and refinement of his will power. St. Alexis is not a character; he is the
embodiment of a faith and religious principle. He has ceased to live as a human on
earth; this is his faith that still survives.
4) In Mysteries and spiritual drama (the difference between these two is rather relative)
the opposition of Man and God reaches its ultimate level, Man completely disappears
in mysteries and the only actor is Christ, his passions, his death and his resurrection. It
is the absolute victory of soul over the world. The narrative basis of mysteries are the
stories of New Testament which are divided in to several circles (the birth,
resurrection etc.).
16. Saint Alexis (died in 400A.D) The patron saints of beggars and pilgrims in Roman Catholic Church


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In the presence of Christ, Men appear as shadows, and the author, especially in the
early periods, was absent. In late Middle Ages, the author sometimes added some
poetic pieces to the original text but these pieces were more illuminative than
interpretive. These pieces that were performed in the church were not permitted to
include any personal accounts, like the holy icons that seemed to be fixed images
lacking any personal interpretations.
5) In spiritual songs (in Armenian language it is called sharagans ) the totality of the
impersonalized feelings is dedicated to God and this is the only sensation that
dominates over Mans soul. It doesnt have any personalized

subjective aspect,

although the text might refer to all subjects (persons) , yet it belongs to none of them.
The prayers are mixed with spiritual songs (there is a distinctive difference between
spiritual songs and prayers, the former is inspired from above (the spirit) the later
originates from the subject). In impersonalized songs the subject is not yet a subject,
that means it doesnt have any individual self consciousness, but in poetry when we
talk about impersonal text we mean a piece of work that lacks personal characteristic.
6) In Epic poems the individuals self consciousness is more dominant than in spiritual
songs. In the epic poems of Middle Ages the sense of debt and obligation toward
God and the king who inherits his monarchy on earth is obvious. The king is the
incarnation of the monarchy of God, originating from the spiritual world above. If
there is a spiritual monarchy in the heaven (and Christ is regarded as the monarch) then
on the earth the monarchy should exist either and the king is the head of the heavenly
monarchy on earth .Obeying and serving the king is obeying and serving Christ. The
best example of epic poems is the circle of French epic poems. (Chanson de Geste;17,
the Heroic songs which includes Rolands song. The characters of the poem are
presented as super-human creatures whose only purpose is to fulfill their obligations,
thats why there are no female characters in this poem who may present any personal
emotions and sensations). Although Carlos the great, Roland and Oliver and the other
knights are not saints, but they are too close to saint figures because they serve Christ.
17. Chanson de Geste- Old French song of heroic deeds- French Epic poems of11-12 centuries

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 24

The only character who has personal intentions is Ganelon18 who is a negative
character since he acts against the spirit and he betrays his chivalry title.
Not focusing on other epic poems of Middle Ages (like the Celtic Senior Edda19 and
Junior Edda the German Goudrona, the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf20 and the Spanish
poem A Song of my Cid 21) here it is worth to focus on The Song of Nibelung22
where the personal self-consciousness is expressed much forcefully than in The song
of the Roland23. The French epic has a heroic nature and the patriotic dimensions are
emphasized. The sweet France an expression that is occasonally used in the poem
symbolizes Christian world with its Christian king who is in strong opposition with the
pagan king of Spain. Defeating him means defeating Christs enemy which is the
ultimate purpose of Christian knight. In Nibelung Song there arent such motifs, yet
its epistemological significance is much broader than The Song of the Roland. The
Song of the Roland in spite of being limited in its epistemological significance is
composed with a greater artistic creativity. The motivating force in Nibelung Song is
human lust, and the problem of love and revenge. This is the viewpoint though which
the whole universe and the intricate web of human relationship are observed. The
religious reflections and the God searching attitudes are set in the background; they are
invisible for human eye, merely acting as a general abstract context upon which the
heroes encounter their destiny. The conflicts of Siegfried24, Brunhilde25 and Grimhild
has a psychological aspect, the cause of tragedy is the world of human lust, the woman
and the love (unlike The Song of the Roland that has no female character). In this
epic poem different characters are presented from different layers of the society, they

18. Ganelon ( literally meaning fraud or deception) In Matter of France he is the knight who betrayed
Charlemagnes army to enemies.
19. Edda- Sources of medieval skaldic tradition in Iceland and Norse mythology
20. Beowulf- A conventional title of an Old English heroic epic poem written by an anonymous Anglo Saxon poet
between 8th to early 11th century
21. The Song of my Cid (or Poem of the Cid) Spanish: Cantar de Mio Cid Spanish medieval epic poem
22. A Song of the Nibelung A circle of epic operas by German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
23. The Song of the Roland- (French: Le Chanson de Roland) a French heroic poem, and one of outstanding
examples of Chanson de Geste
24. Seigfried- The third of the four operas that constitute The Ring of Nibelung
25. Brunhilde, Grimhil Female characters in The Ring of Nibelung


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encounter different legendary fantastic image, these features do not appear in the
French poem. Siegfried as a man of ancient times by entering the new world, and the
gulf of lust signified by the presence of two powerful female figures i.e. Brunhilde
and Grimhilde experiences downfall. . Although in this poem man appears as an
independent existence, with his indisputable anthropomorphic features, but the
unknown forces of the fate dominate over him. These unknown forces are the invisible
energetic centers the

intangible presence of which create certain characteristic

features and symbols for the characters, who are deprived of any personal concrete
manifestations, inhabited in the dark unconscious archetypal codes of human instincts
and the deeper levels of human soul.
Among the epic poems of the Middle Ages Sasounxi David (David of Sasoun) has an
outstanding position. In this work, different time references are used simultaneously.
(this poem was written in ancient period and there is no reliable source for specifying
its exact composition date). In its totality, this work, presents the four stages of human
evolution (in its esoteric sense, the four worlds, the four levels of mans mystical
existence , the four generations of gods, the four gospels, the different mythological and
philosophical connotations of number four is important either ) until it reaches the
stage of the formation of the concept of the individualistic I which is manifested in
the tragic figure of the abandoned and alienated little Mher. The tragic aspect is related
with self-consciousness, therefore in the poem the only tragic figure is little Mher, he is
the symbol of the newly born I. this epic poem, which is the apogee of the epic
creativity of Armenians has not been fully analyzed and interpreted by literary scholars,
only a few attempts have been made in this regard.
7) The Chivalry literature with its two divisions of genres: chivalry novels and chivalry
lyrical poems (or the poetry of troubadours) is the last accord of the Middle Age
literature in which the concept of man gets closer to the concept of God and the energy
of God spreads over him as love, encompassing within itself the figures of the man and
the woman or the knight and his dame for whom the heavenly love has descended
and reached to the level of sexual love, and the Eros has ascended to the position of
God. The paradoxical energetic field of love functions as the basis for the heroic acts

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 26

of the knights. On the one hand the knight is trying to fulfill his obligation toward God
and on the other hand he is feeling obliged to serve his beloved woman and to idolize
her. The dame, which was called donna by the Provence26 troubadours27 of XII
century, was the reflection of the image of the holy Mary (Madonna) whom the knight
idolizes. This duality of love is the central theme of the love story of Tristan and
Isolde28 the blond Isolde whom Tristan loves and the white hand Isolde whom Tristan
marries are the symbolic figures showing the duality of love in chivalry novels. In the
first one Tristan finds the love of God and in the second one love of mankind. Due to
the ideas of Sigmund Freud this could be interpreted as the battle between ego and
super ego on the level of the self but this could only be seen from one dimension this
unsolvable contradiction has a fatal consequence for the newly developed individual
figure. (Tristan).
The central idea of the novel is not the life of Tristan and Isolde (although they are the
protagonists of the story) but the love that flourishes in their soul and they dont know
what to with this feeling. The tragic figure is neither Tristan nor Isolde but the bisected
nature of their love that makes all characters of the story to get involved in it.
Although man appears as an established individual in the story, but still the
supernatural forces dominate over him and man is unable to understand his own
identity. The concept of individual identity gets its final and definite shape in Dantes
works, where the divine and human features appear in a certain equilibrium. Here he
overcomes the one-dimensional perception of Christ figure (Christ as God) and moves
toward the humanistic dimension of Christ (Christ as Man). In this way he turns toward
a newly developed mentality , where man appears as the epistemological center and
God as the background upon which the whole incidents of human life unfold. It seems
that this is an inverted from of the mentality of the Middle Ages, where the center and
the background charge their positions. This could be illustrated with the following

26. Provence- A geographical region and historical province of south of France which extends from lower bank of
Rhone river on the west an the Italian boarder on the east
27.Troubadour- A composer and performer of lyric poetry in Provence during high Middle Ages (1100-1350)
28. Tristan and Isolde A romance by Gottfied von Strassburg (1210)


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scheme, where the internal progression of the dominant theme of Middle Ages related
to genre development of literary works is detectable.

In the first one the object (God) and subject (man) are present. The information comes
from the object i.e. God (descends from the above) to the subject (below- Man) who is the
receiver of the information. In the second one (Biographies of the Saints, legends) the
significance of the object increases therefore the role of the subject diminishes (God apparently
exercises a sovereignty over man): in the third one (Mysteries and Religious drama) the subject
is absolutely absent, he doesnt have any impact over the object . In Mysteries and the Religions
drama the distinctive line between the object and the subject occasionally becomes blurred and
indefinite. These works merely demonstrate Gods (Christ-God) life, his passions, his death and
resurrection. The subject has merely the role of an observer performing no action. In the forth
one the role of the subject develops (Spiritual songs, Epic poems) which is directly related with
the process of the actualization of Gods will. In the fifth one (Chivalry novel and Lyrical
poems) the subject approaches the object and becomes the active part. The equilibrium of the
two sides becomes evident in Dantes The Divine Comedy which has great affinities with the
Confessions of Augustinus Aurelius. The subjectivism of Augustinus (the lyrical basis of his
composition and language) in The Divine Comedy changes in to objectivism (epic principle).


Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 28


Since XIII century a general shift in the understanding of the two facets of Christ figure
occurred i.e. the human facet of Christ gained significance.
Earlier, this facet was used to serve as a background, carrying upon itself the influence of
the divine facet, the one that suppresses the human existence withdrawing it to the background.
It was quite obvious that, the human facet was not able to bear upon itself the heavy
burden of Gods dynamic and fervent existence for a long time; thats why it became
separated from him on the Golgotha29 to join him again three days later. The last prayer of
Christ on the cross Oh God, oh God why have you forsaken me30? apart from its esoteric
interpretations is regarded as the last prayer of man to God. The separation and the nullification
(death and resurrection) have symbolic meanings, they serve as an inviolable basis upon which
the human destiny lies, that is the outlook of Man toward the mythological figure of Christ
beyond the circle of physical world. The crucified Christ abandons the spirit of God just in
the same way that Christ figure enters the cultural system of Renaissance period, gradually
ascends to its climax, makes some arrangements for the appearance of his human facet, and
establishes a new cultural system called Renaissance. (the term Renaissance is not a suitable
expression for specifying the nature and characteristics of this period since in the word
Renaissance the dominance of the features

of the antique culture is emphasized while

Renaissance period is not a period of reconstructing and transfigurating of the antique values ,
rather it is considered as a period of establishing a new system of thought with specific
structural and formal characteristic which is quite different and even to some extent stands in
sharp contrast with the norms of antique art although foregrounding the significance of Man was
considered a common feature in both periods.
The pointer of the spiritual compass turns toward a new phenomenon, where man
becomes the focus of attention, the new categorical-imperative of the culture with all its
implications. Christ approaches man as a human, but departs him as a God. This epistemological
29. Golgotha (Greek word meaning a place for a skull)- a place outside Jerusalem where Christ was crucified
30. Mathew 27:46


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correlation of the two paradoxical processes of approaching and departing is the paradigm of
Renaissance period, its central conflict, having Christ as an approaching figure on one side and
Christ as a departing figure on the other side where the later on a symbolic level is revealed by
the former.
Departing Christ (Christ as God) sets as a background for the mythological figure of
approaching Christ (Christ as Man). The approaching Christ appears in the foreground, the
concept is directly related with Renaissance man, who seeks within his soul (consciously or
unconsciously)the concept of the approaching Christ - Man
The inner dynamism of Christ figure is created as a consequence of its appreciation on two
levels; the Christ figure set as foreground and Christ figure set as background. This is the typical
characteristic of Western culture. While western culture is based upon dramatization (because of
its inner dynamism originating from Renaissance period), the eastern culture is based upon
lyricism, thats why the dominant genre of western literature is drama while the dominant genre
of eastern culture is lyric poems. Eastern drama has lyrical characteristics while western lyricism
has dramatic features.
Everything revolves around the internal bipolar nature of Christ figure as it is
appreciated by man. This appreciation, in turn, is related to the historical evolution of the
perception of Christ figure. The Christ-God medieval perception gradually gives way to
Christ-Man perception while the former moves to the background exerting its reflection upon.
the foregrounded (Christ-Man). In God-Man association, the God stands in the first plan
covering Man, as in Middle Ages God takes man under his own shadow. Now in Renaissance
the man, awakening after a long sleep tries to find himself within the existence of Christ, he
attempts to peer with his own eyes, finding and justifying his own self as an earthly existence,
standing all-alone in a detached space in the intersection of the worlds alien powers, facing his
destiny all alone. In this situation, he is forced to choose, and become the central figure of the
worlds literature and art, that develops, passes through the evolution stages, reaches his climax
and then withdraws.
Thirteenth century is marked as the beginning period for the earthly incarnation of the
image of man in the realm of literature. In this period the Italian troubadours created a new
sweet poetic style which could be considered as the early forms of European lyric poetry. They

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 30

organized and canonized the poetry which had their origins in medieval period (canonization
and systematization were the categorical principles of Middle Ages which were closely
associated with the systematized perception of spiritual realities and scholastic attitudes). In
Italian poetry these categorized principles were substituted by a free creative style as a poetic
model of the individual world, presenting new structural and linguistic forms.
This could be seen as a step moving toward the subject, a kind of separation from the
general background, the creation of a new reality, where the subject gains new face and destiny.
The first step that was made toward creating structural independence in poetry was the formation
of sonnet by Sicilian poet Giocomo De Lentini31. In his sonnets, within the restricted and
systematized from of poetry he created the possibility of the free and unlimited development of
the content (and we see this unconstrained development of the content in the world of poetry up
to the present time). On the other hand in the period rhyme was introduced in the poetry (many
experts believe that the impact of Spanish-Arabic poetry had a dominant role in the creation of
rhyme but as Hegel mentions, rhyme was the consequence of the development of the inner
rhythmic patterns of the language not the consequence of any foreign impacts). Rhyme is absent
in medieval poetry, since the revelation of the spiritual content is the basic element of each line
of poetry, possessing a huge amount of energy which compensates the lack of rhyme in poetry
and makes rhyme seem redundant. The reduction or withdrawal of spiritual content in poetic
text makes it possible or opens up a space for the entrance and settlement of individual existence
in the poetry where through the usage of rhyme the possibly of revealing the true nature of
individuality is created. In other words, the using rhyme is synonymous to the presence of
human individuality in the text. In poetic expressions, gradually the spiritual content moves
downward while finding its reflection in the upper world.
Rhyme as one of the most important elements of rhythm, apart from creating a formal
structure for the inner world of each individual, it joins the different lines of poetry and creates
an epistemological correlation between the two spheres or two levels, which gradually diverge
from each other: the downward sphere moving more downward and the upward level moving
more upward. In this way the dramatic tension of the text reaches its climax and on this level
31. Giacomo De Lentini Italian poet of 13th century


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usually the spiritual content becomes invisible cutting all its connections with man, leaving him
all alone without any spiritual support. This is the phase where man reaches absurdity and his
human existence disappears. Since rhyme is the immediate expression of the individual lyrical
perception which has appeared as foreground (this principle also applies for epic and dramatic
poems, where the lyrical element is always present) it compensates the absence of spiritual
content as a central element of the poetic structure and a linguistic-rhythmic figure. In the poetry
of antique period the absence of rhyme is associated with the concept of the eternal existence of
cosmos as the ultimate from of systematized entity and the relation of man with cosmos as the
most perfect and definite conception. (later in mid ninetieth and early twentieth century the
significance and presence of man as a dominant figure diminishes therefore the usage of rhyme
patterns becomes rare in poetry and gradually the free verse becomes common).

Heaven Earth
(Body Soul)

As we know perceiving the human aspect of Christ figure became dominant after Middle
Ages when Man disclosed his own being within the existence of Christ. At this stage he arrived
at this conclusion that the existence of God could be comprehended only through knowing your
own self, unlike the dominant mentality of Middle Ages which says by knowing God Man will
be able to know himself. Self-knowledge and recognizing the inner world of human beings
which used to be forbidden zones and concepts beyond the boundaries of human understanding
gained remarkable significance in this period , since through this perception the reconstruction
of the mythological facet of Christ would occur which might lead to the formation of a new

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 32

understanding of Christ and illumination of the individual mentality. This zone was quite
unknown to man up to that time. Although the materialistic aspect of human mind was a known
concept at that time but still it hadnt proved its existence as an independent entity and an
object which possesses spiritual significance. In the sweet new poetic style of the thirteenth
century poets, the early signals of the arrival of this new world had already been heard. At first
these signals were weak, barely audible but little by little they got intensified and reached to the
point that the writer became immersed in the his own emotions and sufferings not being able to
find any responses for those signals in the outer world. The poet, finding himself on earth and
accepting the impulse of this world within his own consciousness first of all finds the love
impulse which is the strangest of all impulses and is able to muffle all other signals, and with
its hidden energy set all other spiritual energies into motion. These energies move according to
the command and movement of the love impulse which acts as the governing center of a spiritual
process controlling the intricate system of emotional and intellectual associations. Here, I world
like to refer to the twentieth century French famous writer, Franois Mauriacs32 witty statement
about the

thematic relations

in literature. He believes that basically in literature three

fundamental relations exist.

1. God and man
2. Death and man
3. Man and women
All other themes revolve around these three as their various manifestations and
interpretations. Furthermore, these three relations appear simultaneously, although in this
combination one of them gains the focal position and the other two hide themselves within the
layers of the text becoming the implied and inexplicable inner symbolic level of the text.
Therefore within the sub layers of any artistic work, God and man and death and love
relationship are implied (otherwise it will be deprived of its inner psychological-semantic
significance and will turn into scholasticism without having any aesthetic value). Death-man
relationship is correlated with God and love. Eros rises to heaven, associating with human fate
(death), becoming a connection link between heaven and earth, joining the spiritual significance
32. Francois Mauriac- (1885-1971)- French author


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with inner emotional energies which are re-signified and recoded under the influence of spiritual
significance, and becoming purified and consecrated. But if Eros is supposed to ascend to
spiritual significance, it is essential for death to descend and reach Eros, enter the intricate layers
of human soul and receive corporal features (becoming incarnated). This opposite process of
incarnation and de-incarnation is the most essential inner movement in the realm of poetry and
the basis of European dramatic lyricism upon which its structural foundation lies.
If the spiritual significance is supposed to descended it should leave its heavenly magnetic
center (Christs heavenly spirit), this becomes possible when the pointer of mans perception of
Christ is directed toward his human facet, otherwise the entrance would be impossible. The
movement of this pointer can neither be accelerated nor slowed down; it has its own definite
pace, which appears as a poetic inspiration making the poets find the true path, or not to disturb
the progression of this movement by using new figurative language. (the poem is created by
itself, the poet doesnt use any intentional force to make the creative process happen.)
Beatrice in Heaven : Dante

Dante defines

the thirteen century Italian poetry as Those dulcet lays of yours

(Purgatory XXIV line 113). Considering his style, which he calls it dulcet by characterizing
its human nature (unlike the harsh religious style of Middle Ages when the human facet appears
only as a background). Following the Provencal troubadours who wrote in Occitan33 language (
not Latin), the Italian poets started to write in Italian abandoning the Latin which had become a
dead language at that time and was not a suitable language for expressing the individuals
emotions, rather they chose the vernacular language (the vulgar, street talk) to write. The new
style was originally used in Sicilia then it moved to northern Italy becoming a definite poetical
movement. The famous poets of this new style were Guido Guinzelli34 (Dante met him in
Purgatory Canto XXIV). Guido Cavalcanti35 the famous poet and philosopher was a senior friend

33. Occitan Old Provencal language (8-14 centuries)

34. Guido Guinzelli (1230-1276)- Italian poet. Dante considered himself as a disciple of him
35. Guido Cavalcanti (1250-1300)- Florancian poet

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 34

of Dante. He and Dante had a great contribution to the development of this new style (New
Life collection) what joins these two poets together, apart from the common stylistic techniques
was the theme of love, Eros as it was mentioned earlier. The impersonalized Donna figure of
Provence poets and singers, which (as stated earlier) was the symbol of St. Mary (the dominant
motif of chivalry literature ), observed by human viewpoint

and subjected to the strict

systematization of chivalry principles, forcing the poet to work in a limited creative zone,
received a more individualized aspect in the poetry of thirteen century. It became liberated from
chivalry coding system. The new style searched the origin of love in vision and pleasure,
through vision (eyes ) the image of beauty penetrates in to the soul settles there and rules over
the mind.
Although the poets of the new sweet style imitated many of the conventions of
troubadours, but in their works a wholly specified informative center was portrayed, paying
much more emphasis to the spiritual meaning and not focusing upon the unique characterization
of Eros. Guido Guinzelli fundamentally changed the image of Provencal love. He believes that
the earthy love is the transfigurated form of the heavenly love, which approaches only virtuous
souls and purifies them from malicious lusts. As the fire is extinguished by water, any kind of
untruthfulness disappears by the touch of love, since the truthfulness and love exist side by side
as the sun and its brilliance. In his poetry, love as the heavenly supreme force, which is
capable of capturing human soul is presented as an abstract idea and the truth. Love doesnt
find its full embodiment in his poetry, rather the idea of love and passion are dominant, instead
of the inner passion and vivacity we find intellectual enlightment purely signaling the presence
of emotion and demonstrating its external reflection. Guido Cavalcanti moves a step further, he
talks about love and in this sense he stands much closer to the love even being able to touch its
surface, but this touch doesnt burn his hand.
The descending of the spiritual meaning upon Eros doesnt occur easily, because for Eros
either it is difficult to ascend and reach the level of spiritual meaning. They meet each other in
the uppermost level of the fusion of spirit and mind. Here Eros mingles with the spiritual
meaning and the spiritual meaning in return, gains a concrete name, identity, specific features
and fate and enters the symbolic-allegoric sub layers of language where the mind (here referred


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to as spiritual meaning) and emotion penetrate into each other, bringing one another in to life.
None of them is able to survive without another.
The character , ( the relationship of which with the humanistic facet of the history is the
same as the relationship of the original and the fake)

externally manifests the inner sign

system (the spiritual meaning or the mental world) and the sign system in return needs to be
reincarnated within the character to gain the only possibility of entering the world. In the
poetry of Dante this process occurs. Here Beatrice is the central figure who contains within
herself the inner equilibrium of all dimensions (theological-philosophical, allegorical-historical,
moral-aesthetic etc). InNew Life collection, love is expressed as a concrete entity.. Following the
literary works of the three famous poets we may see the evolution of love in the following
processes: love as a principle-emotion (Guido Guinzelli) love as emotion-philosophy (Guido
Cavalcanti ), love as a concrete entity (Dante Alighieri).
In the works of the first two poets, the gradual development of love leads to the formation
of a principle which closely approaches the love boarder. Dante crosses this boarder, showing
love as a concrete entity , life style, where rather than being a concept and idea , it acts as life
itself. Dante doesnt preach about love (although in his work there are several judgments about
love), rather he creates love as an independent entity, love is not incarnated in the mind but in
the heart, where it opens up its way toward heaven. In this way, the earthly suffering soul reaches
the supreme realm. Dantes expression of love is completely in harmony with the concept of
Christian love, love is both a path, which human soul is supposed to cross and an initial energy
that by its multidimensional aspect sets the cosmos in to motion (by earthly and heavenly bodies,
suns, stars etc) and it functions as the ultimate destination where human soul wishes to reach
(He, who escapes from Gods hand). The earthly love (the love which is out of existence of
Christ) finds human heart, captures it, completely transforms it, and draws it toward itself
liberating it from the inferior world . It seems that the two masterpieces of Dante. i. e. New life
and Divine comedy are the two stages of reaching love.
The former, is the earthy love story of Dante and Beatrice (happening in Florence, where
Dante fell in love with Beatrice and after her death in 1290 he publishes his impressive love
confessions) and the later is the heavenly realm of love, the Paradise, where Beatrice lives
(Dante wrote the poem after being banished from Florence and he finishes it just before his death

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 36

in 1321). These two stages, on their epistemological level correspond to the two stages of human
life. The first half when man has an earthly existence and he commits certain mistakes, is
deluded, and the second half when man tries to liberate himself from all his faults. Dante begins
his Divine Comedy with this phrase ,Midway upon the journey of our life 36 and he moves to
the second stage of his life and he attempts to liberate himself from all the faults of the first
stage. Dante has taken the theological-philosophical principle of the two worlds from Augustinus
Aurelius who had presented the same idea by symbolic image of the two cities (Rome and
Jerusalem). Rome, being the symbol of mistakes and delusions, Jerusalem presenting the idea of
liberation and salvation (the heavenly Jerusalem). Dante chooses two equivalents of Augustinus
choice of cities; Florence ( the symbol of the first half of life) and the Paradise ( the symbol of
the second half of life). Here we see the two aspects of love, Dante, acting as a human being
under the impression of different forces , yet through his free will being capable of choosing
(actually he is forced to choose) the right path. Beatrice, who has already crossed this path and
has become the embodiment of heavenly love, and she shows the right path to Dante from
The two worlds as two individuals (lovers) are joined together by love, , therefore love is
the unique force that dominates over the earth as well as heaven. Although love originates from
the inaccessible heavenly spirit, but due to the choice and orientation of man, it incarnates within
human soul. In this sense, mans free will is essential to give birth to love. . This is quite
different from the idea of love in antique art, when Eross arrow (the god of love) hits the
individual without asking him whether he wants it or not, so this is done quite blindly since the
spiritual aspect of love is not emphasized here. (for example the love of Paris and Helen cannot
be regarded as a spiritual love , although the divine element is so dominant there). This love is
not as tragic as the love of Tristan and Isolde since Beatrice as one side of this love relationship
appears as the emanation of heavenly love transferring the energy of love to Dante who is a
suffering and frustrated figure on earth yet he could not be regarded as a tragic figure because he
is inspired by heavenly love of Beatrice and he is waiting for salvation.

36. Divine Comedy- Inferno, Canto 1 , Line 1


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The above and below, the upper and lower, the heaven (Beatrice) and earth (Dante) form
two opposing poles. . Here, the one who is above descends to save the one who is below, the one
who is below in turn ascends from the earth (hell) toward the supreme realm (heaven) to find
heavenly love and salvation . Dante ascends, since Beatrice descends. These opposite
movements are made because of one-another, they are related to each other, otherwise there
would be no movement and the meeting will not occur.
The mutual gravitation that occurs between the two spheres of heaven and earth influences
the endless wanderings of the deluded man in the dark forest and this motivates him to unveil the
hidden secrets of the heaven and earth. In this stageDante appears as the symbol of human values
and the embodiment of the spiritual-intellectual aptitudes. The cosmos runs and develops
between him and Beatrice. In order to reach Beatrice, Dante is forced to cross the whole
universe. Dante and Beatrice are located on the two poles of the universe, metaphorically
speaking they are standing on two banks of the river, so in order to reach each other they should
swim in the river. The power comes from the one side of the river (heaven) and the
determination from the other side (the earth). If man wants to get rid of the three allegorical
animals (the lion, the panther and the female wolf ) (man cannot save himself by relying on his
own efforts) this will be possible only if man is determined to be saved. Virgil (the symbol of
reason) guides Dante to reach Beatrice, but human reason and knowledge can only guide him up
to the doors of the salvation (the last floor of Purgatory, the Eden or heaven) that is, it can only
prepare him for salvation, but the real salvation comes from the upper realm, the love of
Beatrice, who is the embodiment of love and divine reason. By reaching Eden, Virgil ends his
mission and returns. Beatrice guides him from Eden to Paradise. The doors of salvation are
closed without the help of love. Some literary critics believe that these two stages symbolize the
idea of the two testaments. The Old Testament acting as the symbol of law, reason and mind
(Moses Abraham)_ and New Testament symbolizing the revelation of love (Christ) which
appears whenever the concepts of the Old Testament are established(as the descending of the
dove on Christ during his baptism in Jordan).
In the epistemological triangle of Dante-Virgil-Beatrice, if we follow Dantes advice and
read The Divine Comedy using its hidden codes (Dante believes that the poem is composed of
three layers, while reading the poem we shouldnt forget about the texts inner layers) we may

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 38

see the three main dimensions of human existence: the body (man in nature) the soul (his
inseparable identity) the spirit (the universal principle of existence, the origin of the other two)
Look that from me thou be not separated (Purgatory Canto XVI) where is the soul escaping?
Of course, it is running toward the body,( the nature-acting as the supreme form of the
embodiment of human soul) here man appears in the state of equilibrium, he starts to work and
ascend toward the spirit and there he finds the equilibrium that he had lost after entering the
dense layers of existence (nature). For the first time Dantes poetry provides the possibility for
the man to stand on his own feet, to ascend, to grow and to enter the eternal domain, to join
heavenly love, to capture love (Beatrice) by the power of reason (Virgil) (Paradise Canto
XXXIII), to see the celestial aspect of trinity, where as Dante states Now doth this man, who
from the lowest depth of the universe as far as here was seen (Paradise, Canto XXXIII). In the
Middle Ages, the conception of Christ as a man was quite unusual but in Dantes work Christ is
presented through its human aspect.

In western poetry, Beatrice is considered as the first feminine character (not to mention the
feminine characters of epic-poems and chivalry novels) and many literary critics specialized in
the study of Dantes works have presented different interpretations in this regard, using different
approaches for analyzing her character as an image or as a symbol. Beatrice presents the
historical-psychological dimension of a specific milieu and a personality. As a sign (symbol) she
acts as the embodiment of a special spiritual meaning. In New Life the image of Beatrice is more
emphasized than inDivine Comedy, therefore the action of New life takes place on earth (in
Florence) (of course most of the action is internal rather than external which moves the plot
forward) and in spite of the spiritual-allegoric nature of the work, the relationship between the
symbolic representation and physical denotation of the character of Beatrice is preserved it
means in the former work Beatrice appears as a woman, and Dante finds the ultimate form of
spiritual beauty in her soul, in the later work she is a spiritual creature from heaven in whom
Dante finds his beloved woman. Considering both works in their totality , we may see that the
figure of Beatrice lies in a general state of equilibrium, and all the dramatic elements are in the


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state of harmonic balance. This is closely related to the inner equilibrium of Dantes work, the
exact mathematical architecture and above all-in the conformity and balance that exists between
the developing Man and God relation. When God doesnt suppress human will, and Man
himself chooses the right path, he is motivated by the sense of responsibility and is directed by
the inner forces. This path leads to God, although the energy comes from the above but this
energy gives man a spiritual awareness to save himself from personal lusts, desires, sins,
mistakes and delusions. These are the things that Beatrice criticizes in Dante while she is in
heaven and she moves forward, toward God. Dantes Apollonian love (to use Nietzsche s term)
creates a huge structure, where the borderlines between the physical and spiritual worlds vanish
creating a new universe, through which Man passes and upon whom all the beams of universe
are directed.
One aspect of the Apollonian harmonized structure is the character of Beatrice, in whom
the internal and external perfection of the structure is reflected. Her figure contains the
metaphysics of light (God has appeared on earth as Light). Dante meets Beatrice in Heaven; she
spreads her love from heaven upon the suffering of Man on earth. She remains as the
illuminating love symbol, who is able to enlighten the dark forest of life by her supreme
feminine features.
Laura between Heaven and Earth : Petrarch
In Divine comedy Beatrice is portrayed as a feminine figure in Heaven, her equilibrium
is the reflection of the absolute harmony and balance of Heaven. In New Life, as we have already
seen, Beatrice is a woman in whom Dante finds the spiritual meaning but in the Divine comedy
she is a spiritual meaning hiding under the mask of femininity. In Gnostic37 texts (Thomass
Bible) the soul has feminine nature. (The soul is a Woman). The mythological figure of
Eternal Woman of W. Goethe38 (The Eternal Woman awakens us\ Faust Part II) as well as
those found in the Russian literature of late nineteenth and early twentieth century (Vladimir

37. Gnostic science- a system of belief which combines the ideas driven from Greek mythology, Oriental mysticism
and Christianity stressing on salvation through gnosis(= knowledge, recognition)
38. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German writer, artist and politician

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 40

Slovyov39and Alexander Blok40) are closely related to this concept. Beatrices character contains
the three reflections of the spiritual meaning : Love- Soul- Woman ; as a key to eternal life. (In
Indo_ European language the initial meaning of woman is life, in Armenian Kin - Kyan =
woman - life). Beatrice is not identified by Holy Mary nor is she the pure reflection of her. She
preserves her own identity in Heaven, although the feminine aspect acts as mask for her but that
mask keeps her in feminine domain (not only the external aspect of mask but also its
commitment and spiritual significance) and gives her the possibility to be reincarnated on earth.
Dantes look remains upward and he doesnt look for that reincarnation on earth. Here my
majestic apparition ends// but my unshakable love and will// and my great love has already
turned into motion // which leads the other suns and stars. It seems that from New Life to
Divine Comedy, the depersonalization process of the woman takes place, the transition from
earth to heaven, from physical to spiritual, from time to eternity .Dante doesnt show us the
opposite direction, that is the personalization process because it is out of his horizon. After
Dante, the gradual steps toward the personification of female figure occur in the work of
Boccaccio41 and Petrarch42.
Each of them had their own contribution in the development of feminine figure (the
movement from Heaven to Earth).

When Dante died in 1321, Petrarch was seventeen years old, although they belong to the
same era but Petrarch had different outlooks and it seemed that he had somehow set off against
Dante. Dante completed the millennial literature of Middle Ages, he led the literature of this
period toward perfection, and it seems as if he completed the construction of a Church where
God and Man live harmoniously and equally next to each other. We might say that he was the

39. Vladimir Slovyov (1853-1900)- Russian philosopher and poet

40. Alexander Blok (1880-1924) Russian lyrical poet
41. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)- Italian author and poet
42. Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374)- Italian author and poet


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last poet of an era, one of the unique poets of the world of literature whose tradition couldnt be
continued by the creative attempts of the next generations.
The continuation of the tradition of poets like Dante is impossible, they dont establish a
trend (or direction) to be followed (like Shakespeare or Goethe) it is not possible to be an
apprentice of their tradition. It is not possible to approach the poetic techniques of Dante and try
to learn about the secrets of his poetic craft, because his style is simply unrepeatable , we can
learn the secrets of spirit from him. Unlike Dante ,Petrarch is a pioneer (leading) poet, it means
he is the avanguard poet of a new artistic movement, and he is standing next to the origins of this
new movement and the immediate impact of his style could be traced in the works of the latter
There is no Danteian tradition but there is Petrarchian tradition which is observable in the
works of the latter poets (not only Italian poets, but also all European poets). Within the poetic
tradition of the national poets of each country there are pioneering and concluding poets, that no
matter how paradoxical they style might be, they cannot survive without one another. Petrarch
is the initiator of the European Lyricism. Conzoniere (Songbook) a collection of Petrarchs
sonnets, is one single comprehensive volume serving as a model for the later poets.
Although each sonnet is categorized as an independent literary piece, but in a


scale they are associated with one another. They share general ideas , poetic styles and the most
important of all they present the female character which appears from the first page to the last
page, passing the different developmental stages.
Petrarch, in his sonnets dedicated to Laura creates a female character that in spite of having
certain common features with Beatrice she possesses certain characteristics which makes her
somehow different from Beatrice . These are features like having a more intensified degree of
personalization and human features and having an individual destiny while descending on
earth and living there. Petrarchs eyes are toward heaven, but his heart is on earth, this duality is
the basis of the duality of his character functioning as the initial cause of the works dynamism
and movement.

If Dante see Beatrice in heaven, Petrarch sees Laura between heaven and earth, a

semi personified feminine essence, who is not yet a woman but she is not a soul either, she is a

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 42

being, an existence on earth within whom the earthly and the heavenly sides coexist Laura is so
close to the figure of Beatrice in New Life, they share their earthly features, Beatrice and Laura
stand on two different poles of one spectrum..
Lauras weightless beamlike soul although standing very close to earth but is associated
with the heaven, from which she could not be separated and she is the one whom the heaven will
call back. The Song book43 is made up of two parts Sonnets written and dedicated to Madonna
Laura when she was alive and Sonnets written after Madonna Lauras death. It seems that on
its totality this work repeats the evolutionary line of New Life and Divine Comedy but on a
different scale.

It has been stated earlier that Dante found Beatrice in heaven, but Petrarch found the
heaven within Lauras soul. Here they appear on two opposing positions, in the former
the heaven reveals Beatrice and in the later Laura reveals the heaven. Therefore, the
former will be impersonalized and the later personalized, consequently the Divine
Comedy will be constructed on the basis of epic poetry, while the other will be
considered as lyrical, where the presence of the individual is more obvious. The heaven
stands between Dante and Beatrice, while between Petrarch and heaven Laura stands.

In Dantes poetry the heaven conceals Beatrice, because it has to call her back but in
Petrarchs poems this is Laura who conceals the heaven. The heaven for Dante is transparent,
through which he sees the reflections of Beatrice, the same is true about Laura the outline of
heaven is observable in her soul. Here, the feminine figure moves a step forward, toward
personalization, but the process is not finished yet. Within Lauras soul, Petrarch sees the
infinity of the heaven (its endlessness, its beauty, its power, which creates an overflow of
emotions and suffering in him). In Petrarchs poetry the heaven could not be found in the
universe but within the human soul, therefore it should be brilliant, beautiful, virtuous like the
image of morning dew that he uses in his poetry upon which we can see the brilliant reflection of
the suns beam
c. Beatrice and Laura standing on two different levels simultaneously complete one
another and within the spiritual - scholastic features of Christianity they become the
43. Song book- Original name Il Canzoniere or Rerum Vulgarium Fragment )Fragments of the Common things)
collection of 366 poems by Petrarch.


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same as the two levels of the same soul. (In Beatrice there is more of principle, in
Laura more of life).
The Elegy of Madonna Fiammetta :Boccaccio
The personalization of the feminine figure in the fourteen century, after Beatrice and Laura
reaches its climax in the works of Giovanni Boccaccio, where she appears on earth among real
people, being a part of real communications. Man and Woman relationship neither occurs in the
supreme realms of heaven, nor between heaven and earth (on the level of dream and
contemplation) but purely in the physical world, more specifically in the bedroom. Fiammetta,
Baccaccious heroine is a feminine figure, impersonalized in the dense layers of earthly
existence, she is a woman living on earth, being expelled in to the complex and unpredictable
world, and she has the urgent need to survive.
Boccaccious novel (The Elegy of Madonna Fiammetta) is the first psychological novel of
the Western world. The protagonist is a woman, and this could not be observed as a coincidence,
because the earthly impulse of existence originates from man- woman relationship, through
which man becomes fully aware of his existence on earth.
In Fiammetta, love descends from the heaven and assimilates (identifies) with Eros. That is
not the principle of love, but the love itself, desposed in human body. The movement of love
begins from the above and ends in below. Beatrice-Laura-Fiammetta are three levels of the
same mythological figure, the three faces of the same spirit. Beatrice lives in heavenly bliss,
higher than earthly life, nobody could touch or bother her (like the supreme idea of Plato which
has ended its journey on earth), Laura is an image of beauty, binds the heaven and earth together,
evoking Petrarchs soul, who is lifeless , but he keeps her on the dynamic level of life (from
there the energy is exerted upon me ). Fiammetta looks for her own way of life on earth, she
finds it in love, but again while approaching pain and suffering, she loses it. From these three
figures, Fiammetta is tragic, since she has entered the earthly life all alone, without any
protection, standing against the alien forces of the external world that are ready to annihilate her.
The tragedy begins, when man enters the world, becomes the embodiment of the reality,
accepts the responsibilities that life has imposed upon him, starts communicating with other
people who do not always correspond to his own inner needs. Fiammetta is in love with Panfilo

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 44

but Panfilo after a certain time leaves her and moves from Naples to Florence (the novel has
some auto biographical indications)

Beatrice is an epic figure, Laura is lyric and Fiammetta is tragic. Thats why the

literary genre of the first is narrative poem, the second one is sonnet and the third one is novel.
Novel is the only new literary genre, that is capable of duplicating mans everyday, earthly
actions, performing on two planes: the external (the social - historical) and internal (individual psychological). These two planes do not necessarily function on the same level.

Fimmetta falls in love with Panfilo, betrays her husband, becomes frustrated and

depressed, cries over the ruins of her lost love, but deep in her heart she clings to Christian
morality. The inner link between Fiammetta, Laura and Beatrice is never cut, she doesnt plunge
into the world of immorality. A spiritual significance still remains in the tragedy. Although this
significance is weak in the characterization, but it still exists . Without this spiritual significance
there would be no tragedy. It serves as the basis of the tragedy, its informative center. It is the
pushing force of all tragedies, and this is what gives man energy to resist the blows of faith. The
man, lacking this aspect, cannot turn into tragic figure and no conception (idea) could be
constructed upon him, since the substance of the literary work by itself is not tragic (being tragic
is a specific category of understanding )

The suffering and the tragedy of Fiammetta is the cost that man pays for losing

the paradise of his soul. Fiammetta should suffer, because by descending to the earth she has
been separated from Beatrice (although Beatrice is present in her inner image as the spiritual
meaning ).The heavenly (spiritual) and earthy (erotic) connection of love is not guaranteed on
earth, it may be cut at any moment. By cutting this connection, the spiritual aspect will lose the
possibility of being incarnated (embodied) on earth and the erotic aspect will be cut off from its
origins and will vanish. (It will be incarnated in the animalistic world, not the human universe).
Mans life moves on a two - edged sward. Fiametta cant help loving, but she cant love either,
she is ready to offer her love, but nobody is ready to accept it. Unable to solve this dichotomy,
Boccaccio moves to Decameron, the basis of which lies on the mockery of human situation,
with all its happy and unhappy incidents, like the curtain which falls on the stage concealing all
the realities that occur behind it. the whole prose of Western World originates from


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The presence of spiritual meaning in human life, is the only way (path) which leads to
supreme realm and doesnt let him to plunge into the depths of earthly miseries. That is the spot
where the doors of Dantes Hell are opened. No matter how far he moves away from that
meaning, he consciously or subconsciously looks for way to return.
Literature is the projection of the conflict that exists between the inner desires of the
man. (attempts to reach the nostalgia of finding the spiritual meaning). While crossing the
dangerous roads of life, Man looks back (or up) trying to find the right path. Since thirteen and
fourteen century, the human facet of Christ has been emphasized in literature, it has developed
and reached its climax in Shakespears works.

II. The dichotomy: Middle Ages - Eden

vs. Renaissance earthly World
Tears of St. Peter

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 46

The revelation of Mans essence on earth is portrayed in the poetry of the three dominant
poets of 13- 14 century (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio). We see the evolution of Beatrices
character in Laura and Fiammetta, where she gains earthly, concrete features, place and time ,
enters the domain of human communications accepting all the consequences. This process
resembles the Fall of Adam and Eve from Eden, when Man having lost his Eden, finds himself a
world that is unknown, wild, full of danger and sufferings, standing all alone, helpless,
unprotected, doomed to act by his own choice and make judgments independently, ready to
suffer the consequences of his own free choiceand all those things that no one expect him is
going to feel responsible for.
Epistemologically, The Middle Ages corresponds the Eden appearing under the dazzling
light of God. This light is so intense that, Man while being banished on earth and losing his
independent shape and form becomes invisible under the shadow of it. In fourteen century, man
crossed the boarder between the two worlds and reveals a new reality for himself , creating two
epistemological directions
Middle Ages Eden- the epistemological centers of these two conceptions (on an esoteric
religious - mythological level) have remarkable connections, which give us the possibility to see
them on the same informative level. These connections originate from the context of Mans inner
orientation, position, form of understandings and the different directions of spiritual
a. Man in Biblical Eden - The creator (God) is presented as the absolute existence and
Man as his emanation, lacking any essence, consequently, not having any possibility for
development. The tradition of the forbidden fruit of Adam and Eve is closely linked with
the concept of gaining essence, the ransom of which is losing Eden.
The transition from Eden to the world, doesnt necessarily mean the transition from one
essence to another, rather it is the transition from the supreme forms of intuition to the
consciousness, from objective existence to subjective world. This transition functions as the axis
of the universe and at the same time as a viewpoint, without which the image of the world would
be closed for man. The universe could be observable from a special viewpoint, the capability of
seeing the universe, that is of possessing a viewpoint is solely dedicated to Man.


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The angles, as the emanation of the supreme world, are simultaneously capable and
incapable of seeing the world. For Man, possessing the viewpoint is the same as gaining the


angles and animals are deprived of having a viewpoint . Therefore, the

emanations of nature lacking the I simultaneously deprived of the possibility of seeing Not I.
Coming out of the Eden, the Man appears on the road of infinite development, he gains
rationality, consciousness, self consciousness and soul - consciousness of the world, which
means a return to the lost Eden (the path of Homers Odyssey. the return to the Holy homeland
of Ithaca. )

Man in the Middle Ages - Man disappears

within the existence of God,

knowing and recognition begins from the above and Man being located in the zone of Gods
existence, is not able to see himself because of that dazzling light that comes from the above,
therefore the below, that is the earthly existence is hidden behind the darkness (the more
dazzling the above, the darker the below, thats why one of the modifiers used for the Middle
Ages is dark ages, the light is above ,below is darkness).
For the Man who is located between these two zones, both of them are intangible: the
above because of its extreme brightness and the below because of its extreme darkness. For
recognizing these two zones, the intuitive knowledge is necessary, which appears in two
directions of mysticism (emotional) and scholasticism (intellectual). The weaker the dazzling
light becomes, the more the reflection of the concealed light becomes on earth.
The decline of one leads to the intensification of the other, since man finds himself, his
position, his body, his location among the objects, his distance orientation, his communicative
system and all those things which establishes his position on earth. The previous Silence, which
was related to the impossibility of the gaining verbal recognition and an expression the
existence of God, gives way to the word. (The light not only makes us blind but it also burns the
words, says Dante in the final section of paradise. The light looses its power, to let the man
achieve the freedom of expression, which is necessary for him to gain self recognition, to think
about and understand the world in which he is going to live, to develop the I and his self
consciousness and to approach and discover the mysteries of the world and the objects.


the above starts to darken and the below, to illuminate. Fear and anxiety is created as the
result of this darkening and illumination.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 48

The eternal (heaven) becomes dark and the temporary (earth) becomes illuminated. Now
Man is forced to solve the paradoxical problems in a state of absolute freedom, he feels
compulsive to follow the suspicious commands of human instinct and it seems that he has been
thrown in an unknown territory. All these sensations reminds us of Adams fall from the Eden,
when he was forced to rely on his dim and ill - defined self to survive. On the one hand, he enters
the human world, finds himself there, gains the capability of thinking and acting independently
and freely, dominates over his own personal destiny within the frame work of the corresponding
social reality, on the other hand he loses his trust in geocentric existence and the link which binds
him to the heaven and causes his elevation over Cosmos, as the son of God for whom God cares,.
On the one hand, he gains courage to speak, to open up his heart, to talk about his personal life
and biography; on the other hand, experiencing the silence of the Middle Ages creates a kind of
anxiety for him, which he regards as a mystical ecstasy which was created as a consequence of
experiencing the dazzling light of God.
The last accord of leaving Eden in Dantes Divine Comedy is the last lines of the poem,
the conclusive statements being uttered by Man after closing the doors of heaven (/Now here the
supreme illusion ends/). After the illusionof the Middle Ages the infinity of the heliocentric
universe opens up for Man, the horror ,which acts as a compensation for the freedom of human
In F. Rabelais44 novel, it has been written on the faade of Abbey of Theleme Do What
Thou Wilt It seems that between Dantes and Rabelais statements an invisible hyphen exists,
joining era to another.
It seems that they are the voices of two historical periods one ending, the other beginning.
Dantes vision focuses upon illusion, which is the illusion of his own era either, the magnificence
of which makes him dumb. This illusion continues to survive with its metaphysical inertness in
the spiritual world of human beings (in his poem), while Rabelais, falls into ecstasy when he
experiences the allurement of the freedom of Man who has entered the world.
In the previous chapter, I have tried to show how Beatrice descends from Medieval heaven
through Petrarchs Laura and Boccaccios Fiammetta, achieves earthly existence and enters the
44. Francois Rabelais (1490-1554) French Renaissance writer, doctor, monk


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intricate web of human communication as a human .She is experiencing the pain of downfall and
is shocked to confront the harsh body of worldly realities. She is doomed to pass through the
purgatory of the incompatible emotions and situations all by herself , the rules and regulations of
which is still unknown for her.
In Boccaccios works in fourteen century, man becomes personified and experiences his
first contact with the real world, while facing its predetermined duality. The man has either an
elegiac/tragic nature (Fiammetta) or mocking /comic features (Decameron) but


individuality has not yet fully developed. He hasnt yet been separated from the general currant
of the existence and he has not yet cut off his ties with the reality.
He is a person but not an individual. (There are specific differences between the English
individual and Armenian ANHAD(person) words. The world individual emphasizes on a
specific level of consciousness and its distinctive quality while being compared with the general
mass. Here the focus is on the nucleus of the individuality in other words the inseparable
energetic center of each character.)
Fiammetta is more individualistic than Laura, Laura is more individualistic than Beatrice
who is the emanation of Heaven in Divine Comedy, and is deprived of individualistic traits. In
other words, within the three feminine characters of Middle Ages, the inner chiffre of the three
dimensional structure of human beings are reflected. Beatrice is the spirit, Laura is the soul and
Fiammetta is the body. They are the three dimensions of one single character. From Dante to
Shakespeare the three dimensional structure of human beings are

merged and turn in to

inseparable entities.
In fifteen century, major attempts were made for the formation of a sense of awareness
about the individual destiny. It could be said that this movement was the most important step
that was made in Western Europe (and also it could be generalized to the whole world of
Christianity) culture and specifically in literature which led to the birth and arrival the New Man
in Modern World. He is the man who is separated from the mass, wondering all alone on earth,
searching for the meaning and value for his personal life, (unlike Middle Ages when he was
searching for the meaning and value of God), touching the bitterness and delights of his soul,
facing the collective tragedies and specific gaieties of the world by relying on his unique and
exceptional individuality.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 50

Through his arrival a new era began, where the Christ - God is substituted by Christ - Man.
In the cultural domain of Middle Ages, the immediate impulses of Christ starts to beat in the
heart of the individual who is the upholder of his own destiny. Here, the first image (Christ God) gradually grows dim, until it becomes incomprehensible and unknown for the external
consciousness (although its signals never stop).
The dimmer the signals grow, the more he becomes alone, but free and independent , he
wants to become a man for whom the most important thing is his personal destiny.
When man as an independent I becomes his own savor and victim, the judge and
the wrongdoer, at the same time, the cause and the effect, the murderer and the dead
The ransom that he pays for his freedom is his sufferings, the duality of his choices in the
world of objects, his losses, the downfalls and tragedies, his independent thinking, his desperate
attempts to judge and to make decisions, when the world runs through its course while he stays
out of that course, remaining passive and not attending the course of the external world.
This separation is defined as his individuality, the inner chiffre of his individual existence.
The important thing here is the movement, the path through which his life passes, While crossing
this path, he is the one who moves ahead, being supported by God.
Being departed from God but feeling his presence on his back, the man opens up his eyes
to other realities, that is the cruel side of life, just like a passenger who has accidently got off a
train, in an unknown station and he has to find his way all by himself without having any map,
any compass or any guide. Here, he is forced to rely on his own inner prompt and intuition and
predestined decisions of his own fate. Later, the inner impulses of all decisions that he makes
originate from the insight that he has gained about his individual freedom.
This insight functions as a new revelation, the revelation of the a man who has entered the
universe, trying to become personalized as an independent, free and egocentric being. The course
of development which would determine his position in the universe began in XV century and
continued up to the XIX to XX centuries. He will either be placed above or below. (Here above
and below are used in their epistemological sense not in the geometric sense.
Each individual should make his choices by his own free will, with full consciousness and
sense of responsibility, otherwise the connection between two worlds (heaven and earth ) might


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not been established. The freedom is given to the man, he is the one who is supposed to choose
his path, not someone else (even God) he is departing in order to approach (or not to approach,
he is the one who is going to decide about this ) or he looses in order to find (or not to find).
Here, I will focus on the analysis of St. Peters character when he denies Christ three times
in Gethsemane garden on the night of Christs arrest. This incident is generally regarded as the
human weakness of Peter which is quite understandable (after all, all of us are humans with our
specific human characteristic), but in reality that episode of the Bible has a magnificent symbolic
connotation where we can find the reflection of the greatest spiritual meanings. Up to that
episode Peter was one of Christs disciples (and it could be said that he was one of the admired
ones) and he was under the absolute spiritual dominance and energetic center of his teacher.
Simon, the son of John, do you love me ? Yes my Lord45 was the reply. Was Peter (Simon)
lying to Christ ? Of course he wasnt. He was ready to scarify himself for his teacher if he was
asked to. He was not lying, but after arresting Christ he denied him for three times and when the
rooster called he cried bitterly and painfully becoming aware of what he has done. By denying
Christ, he came out of the spiritual dominion of him, becomes independent, regains himself and
makes his choice as a free individual, consciously, not by inner push or any influence of a
superior being.
Peters choice is the choice of a free man, a conscious step, through which man
experiences a new Renaissance entering a new mystical system.
As Stefan Zweig46 says, that was indeed the astronomical time for mankind, the most
critical step that he has made that once and for all binds him with Christ. It is so difficult to
imagine that what would the destiny of mankind be if Peter didnt re attains Christ. The step that
he had made ,determined the course of spiritual development of the whole Western World
starting from Renaissance period up to twentieth century, creating an existential situation for the
individual where he has to choose whether to turn upwards, toward a newer, more conscious and
balanced understanding of Christ, or to turn downwards toward chaotic forces, lacking any
structure, the world of instinct, being guided only by rational, pseudo - scientific teachings,

45. John21:15-17
46. Stefan Zweig (1881-1942)- Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 52

having limited outlooks about life, which leads him toward a kind of false - freedom which is in
fact is real slavery.
Referring to that specific episode of Bible and having the whole Bible as the general
context, we might say that the Middle Ages reflects Peters situation in pre - crucification era,
when man feels the dazzling light of God upon himself which doesnt let him recognize his own
individualistic existence.
The tears of St. Peter ( and Peter cried bitterly) is the soul cry of the self - determined
and lonesome man, being terrified of losing his spiritual center His tears are still falling, never in
the universe were the tears of anyone so determining, hopless and appealing as his was.
It could be said that for the first time man has truly and deep heartedly cried through Peter,
his voice is heard up to present time in the whole universe.
The Experience of the Individual Destiny: Villon47
The first voice indicating the arrival of the individual destiny was heard in fifteen century
European literature in the poetry of Francois Villon. He was the single genius of fifteen
century who attempted to break up with the cultural, moral - psychological, political - ideological
tradition of his time through his poetry, and to enter the external world of reality consciously.
His prominent Italian ancestors had already shown (in different levels and from different
moral - philosophical views) the departure of Man from Middle Ages, searching for his own
destiny in outlandish territories, where the invisible disguised forces function behind his
spiritual existence, organizing and developing the outlines and structures of his subjective
composition (the static structure undergoes certain internal dynamic processes due to its
intensively of the mutual cooperation of its structural components)
The Italian poets had showed the fall of man from Eden or his Departure of Egypt (the
epistemological parallels of Middle Ages - Renaissance) demonstrating his gradual evolution in
the world of objects, they talk about him, focusing their attention on his existence, but in
Francois Villons poetry, man comes out of his God centered framework of the Middle Ages
cover once and for all, finds his own self, speaks in his own words, by his own voice and
47. Francois Villon ( 1431-1463) French poet and vagabond


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intonation as a single entity and individual (inseparable I) who is different from others and who
encounters his own destiny all alone, with empty hands, not collapsing while encountering his
cruel face, being defeated by himself, by his irrational life finding his own self as it really is, not
as the one he wishes to be. He lives his own personal life, not the life of the masses which
dissolves and melts him away like snow, he is searching for himself not the universal concepts,
those things that belong to him not anyone else. In fact, nothing belongs to him except, the
bubbles of hope, aimless wonderings and sufferings. He spends his life on Pariss floor, he is the
man of floor (earth), even when he appears in a princes palace for a certain period he still
remains the same. Displacement doesnt make any changes for him, in his earthly existence he
doesnt have any dependence upon anything, he is free, independent and dignified against the
predetermination of his destiny.
The external movements dont make any changes in his destiny Dignified is the one who
doesnt get surprised when he moves from a hut to a castle says S. Kierkegard. He knows the
real value of the objects, the passage of time, the inconsistent nature of the external world (when
it seems that nothing has changed), and he approaches all these things decisively, and he is
watching his own fate from a lyrical perspective. Within the instability of bohemic world and the
risky accidentally of the universe, the constructive totality of the consciousness functions, never
being defied by the harsh aspects of the reality, moreover, the vitality of the inner outlooks are
never dimed by the pains and the sufferings.
In F. Villons poetry, the destinys conflict is created as the result of the opposition of the
contradictory forces of Middle Ages and the Renaissance.. To be more precise, we might say
that the mentality of Middle Ages (Christ - God) is functioning on his back, while in an inner
level of I the Renaissance (Christ - Man) mentality is active. He is experiencing the first from
the viewpoint of the second, which is the general orientation of his soul, on the center of which
lies his personal essence which is the conflict zone . On the one hand the predetermination of the
earthly and heavenly forces is exerted upon him and on the other hand he is under the influence
of the freedom of his personal choices. The conflict is created as the result of the interference of
the later.
Here, the two stylistic levels of his poetic language emerge : the lyricism and the irony.
The former showing the wondering of the lonely soul, continuously avoiding the realities of life,

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 54

the later, showing the permanent presence and dominance of the conscious mind. The lyrical
expressions of the most significant concepts of life and death are presented on the colloquial
(street talk) level of language not the literal one.The Parisian slang language of fifteen century,
the language that was spoken in the dark corners of brothels,that is the language of the lower
classes of the society was used not only in Villons jargoned poems, but also in his ballads and
the lyrical poems, (In The big Testament either where the Parisian colloquial language
dominates). He was a resident of the street, spending his life not in the noble and aristocratic
societies , where the language becomes polished and elevated, meantime losing some essential
semantic nuances, the inner rhythms of subjective emotions generally referred to as the lively
vibration of the language , but in streets, beyond all the restrictions and boundaries, facing the
naked reality all alone, in the open spectacle of inner and outer associations when the energies of
I and Not I cross each other, keeping the man all alone facing the cruel world all alone,
unprotected, relying on himself, his inner voices, the happy or unhappy incidents that might
occur in his life , deviating their path and human destiny by their incomprehensible caprices.
The street is a place where man appears all alone, facing his own existence, and the
memory of these moments stay in his mind forever. His God is not an intangible transcendental
existence, like it was in Renaissance (Christ - God), but he is the Christ himself , standing too
close to him, tangible and touchable. Your son, Jesus is the Lord of my soul - man refers to
Holy Mary, this is not a mere prayer, but the last appeal of a lonely man who has been lost in
the world to an being which has a definite shape, lively sensation, human fate and is deprived
of the dazzling light. She is the one who instead of judging him has a sense of compassion and
mercy for him.
Villon addresses Man - Christ. The symbol of Medieval period is the church and the
clergymen, which is portrayed ironically in Villons works , since here Man (Man - Christ), his
personal life and destiny, and all those things that are of no interest neither to church nor to the
monarch( who is ready to punish him for the slightest mistake) and even not to society (who is
unable to understand him are absent) thats why his fate is so similar to the fate of a lonely
candle which is burning under church vaults.
Only a small group of people who like Villon are banished from the general course of life
were able to understand him. These were the people who were living in the irrational physical


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world and their bodies were tragically swinging on the gallows. Villons soul had a deep
awareness of the destiny of the individual, he moved far ahead from his own time. He lived in an
era which was still groping in the darkness of the past. (Although the light of God was burning
there, but this light didnt illuminate his soul and warm up his existence). Love and Death are
the signals of the presence of this awareness through which the course of his life runs, a chaos
which starts with experiencing the social reality and ends in absurdity.
The first problem that the developing I faces is death. The I who has found his own
self is now scared of losing it again. The only way to overcome this fear is through irony, with
the help of which he tries to restrain death. In Villons creative works, death is not similar to the
images of death previously used in literature. For Dante, death was a delusion in the cosmetic
forest which becomes synonymous to sin and only through love man was able to overcome it.(the
impulse of Beatrice : which saves Dante from the sin with the help of love), for Petrarch death is
the same as losing love in the universe and breaking the inner tie with the Heaven. With the
power of love Laura holds the wandering poet on earth (/she rose to Heaven, naked and alive
exerting her force upon me/) but for Villon death is the logical conclusion of the absurd world.
The one who is approaching death has already experienced its chaos and the nonsensical nature
of the world and now the death itself seems to him merely a comic sketch or a tragi - comedy
(/with a tight and strained rope // My neck will feel the weight of my corpse/). Death is the
hostility of the alien and inhospitable forces against the self - consciousness of man. By its very
essence death is destruction, collapse and calamity of the spirit and the man, it is a fate that man
doesnt deserve it. The individuals soul stands against the global absurdity and comic silence
(/Prince! do you know // what the soul does before yielding to God? //He drank the wine in one
breath // and then silently left this world. /). This is the first outcry of the retreating man, the first
poetical reverberation of the personal I, his first contact with Not I or the alienated reality.
In Villons Poem Drinking wine creates several linguistic as well as psychological
associations. First it presents the mysterious moment of death by using corresponding linguistic
devices (lowering of the intonation), then it draws our attention to the freedom of the soul. Here,
the wine does not contain the allegorical connotation of Christian sacrament (This is my

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 56

blood48) rather it acts as the expression of his inner loneliness, his desperate soul struggling
with the unknown forces of the universe which may lead either to defeat or the victory. The dual
structure of his discourse (the inner tragedy and the external irony) is the manifestation of the
duality of his own personal experiences, when the external and internal realities of life do not
correspond each other. This duality in his writhing style becomes more palpable in his love
poems. In these poems he appears as an abandoned, alienated individual who is trying to
establish or demolish his life by his own hands, seeking love and compassion. A man who is
constantly being defeated by himself, his surrounding and his faith.
The love wondering of Villon is completely different from that of Dantes, Petrarchs and
Boccaccios. His Plump Margo is neither Beatrice nor Laura or a suffering Fiammetta who has
been deserted by his beloved man. She is a common woman that we usually meet in streets, a
laundry woman, a housemaid, a bar woman, a hardworking Villonian feminine figure who is
trying to make the ends meet by her own personal efforts, she is so far - off from the metaphysic
of life, rather she acts as a Villonian concrete and tangible figure whom Villon loves and
appreciates. The comic spirit of fifteenth century and

the awaking of personal faith becomes

manifested in the poetry of F. Villon. The manifestations of these concept were quite essential
for Renaissance period. By his life and creative work the talented F.Villon makes the realization
of this ideas possible.

Language and Character : Rabelais and Cervantes

The ascending development of Renaissance culture reaches its climax in the sixteenth and
early seventeenth century. In this period Man appears as the center of culture and the
categorical - imperative of the age, manifesting within himself the spirit of the age,

48. This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for forgiveness of the sins Matthew 26:28


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determining its form and content and becoming the ultimate goal and the dominant principle of
the era.
In literature, Renaissance is generally defined as the triumph of a new cultural system over
Middle Ages, the revelation of man and the dominance of the humanistic aspects, the age of
descending heaven to earth, a period of the formation of a new scientific - realistic outlook
about the world and an era of the downfall of dogmatisms and etc.
The paradox that exists between Renaissance and Middle Age culture , and their
incompatibility are emphasized in different ways. The criteria for judging about cultural values
are determined by the quality and nature of the relationship that this period established with
ancient times, whether these relationships are viewed as progressive or reactionary.
This principle becomes common from eighteen till twentieth century, when there was a
need to observe all this phenomenon in a much broader context, when it becomes obvious that a
kind of downfall process is occurring in Western cultureand it becomes essential to understand
the main causes and motives of such downfall (Nietzsche, Spengler etc) of course it is impossible
to act against the progression of this process.Middle Ages and Renaissance are two intellectual
systems acting against each other, those concepts that were situated in the background (The
Man), in Renaissance period appears as a foreground, and the foregrounded idea appears in the
background (we have already stated this point). The position of the primary and secondary or the
above and the below is reversed like two opposite systems that act as mirrors and reflect each
other. The dazzling light of Christ - God in the Middle Ages covers the image of Man, which
seems to remain out of the framework, and the dense entity of Christ - Man doesnt permit the
background light to be viewed.
Nietzsche once wrote in The Dawn Why man is not able to see the surrounding
objects? because his own shadow is falling upon those objects.The real side of the objects,
the layout of his own self falls upon the objects and creates an image. This image is both similar
to the objects and is not, it looks like them (the Man) and it does not. If we substitute the word
objects in Nietzsches statement with God, then we will see that this is the image of God that is
covered by human shadow, the image of Man is covered by Gods light. (God doesnt produce
shadows, because the origin of shadows is the physical body. God produces light, which falls
upon the observer and makes him blind). This Nietzschean concept, in the best way exemplifies

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 58

the cultural model of the western world (Christian world) in the last one hundred years, when
Man after seeing (recognizing) himself assumes the existence of a transcendental entity beyond
his ownshadow.Being unable to identify that entity, man uses different names for it, the most
unessential of which isnature, having the tributes of the Creator (sometimes people assign the
creation of something to nature, but is the nature, as we know it, able to create something ?
while we know that the act of creation requires previous thinking, planning and designing). It
seems that the paradoxical concepts of Christ-God and Christ-man dissolve in the Christ
figure, becoming the informative center of the two conception and the ultimate principle of the
cosmic equilibrium. In Renaissance culture, specially in the realm of literature, due to the degree
and intensity of incarnation of humanistic features in Christ figure, the disruption between these
two paradoxical conceptions gradually widens, however, a complete disconnection never occurs
became in that case the whole structure will collapse, like any other structure that will demolish
in the case of breaching its inner equilibrium.
If in F. Villons literature we find the manifestation of the idea of individual destiny as a
lyrical experience, in Rabelais49 novel, Pantagruel and Gargantua . the man appears as a
language element , encompassing within itself all dimensions of life, developing in all directions,
crossing the boundaries of myths and realities, animating all lifeless ideas, thoughts and
lifestyles, moving toward grotesque, parody and overstatement in order to express the
significance of the whole existence of mankind, his dignity and his ideas on freedom that could
be found in the Utopic structure of society.
Within the complex linguistic texture of the novel we may noticethe use of two different
1) The grotesque-hyperbolic parody which acts against the reality and the time, and due
to Rabelais idea are incapable of satisfying the ever growing human needs.
2) Rabelais personal Utopian idea about human life. Here the language abandons its
satiric features and turns into Utopian description of the world.

49. Francois Rabelais (1494-1553) Major French writer, monk, humanist and Greek scholar


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These two stylistic features of language act quite distinctively within the linguistic texture
of the novel, they are not organically connected with each other yet the enormous linguistic
energy of the writer joins them together and in this way the organic unity of the whole text is
preserved. It seems that here two linguistic principles are operating: the satiric character of
Olofern, who is a professor of southern university acts against the character of Panocrat, who
acts as the authors voice. The former is interestingas a character and the later as a conception.
The author controls the theme development of the novel, each artistic feature, whether it is
related to the language, the general composition of the work or the characterization, acts
according to the intention of the author. On the one hand the overwhelming individuality of
Rabelais assigns all the components of the novel, forming one unified entity, preserving the
coherence and unity of the novel, on the other hand the permanent presence and dominance of
the author (whether obvious or hidden) ligers the internal progression and development of the
novel, the progression of the actions gains secondary importance and become static although
many events occur in the novel but non of them possess internal dynamism. These points are not
mentioned as deficiencies but as the characteristic of the novel, as the logical consequence of the
basic principle which lies as the foundation of the novel.
Bakhtin50 declares that this feature has carnavalistique quality. In the ideological level
that quality is referred to as the assertion of man in the new circumstances, in literature that
might be considered as the emergence of the evolving man experiencing the possibility of free
speech, which stands in sharp contrast with the medieval contemplative man who asserts his
existence in the universe by his silence. F. Rabelais by asserting himself on the linguistic level
overlooks the development of characterization, and even we might say that the element of
characterization is absent in his novel. It seems that Garantua and Pantagruel are not characters,
they lack any personal-individual features and appear as masks, behind which lie the concrete
intentions of the author. They stand too close to the mythological figures of late medieval period,
it seems that they are occupying an intermediary position between mythology and literature. As a
mythological figure they posses too many literary orientations and as literary figure they are too
much mythological. The other personages of the novel are not characters either; rather they act as
50. Michael Bakhtin (1895-1975)- Russian Philosopher and literary critic

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 60

allegorical figures. Those personages, who came out of their mythological shell, act as common
people. The people whom we meet in the streets who are the incarnation of the vital spirit of
reality are called characters. Panurg

is the only personage in the novel who resembles a

character, even though being equipped with the solid and definite features of a character he
doesnt ascend to the level of a character. His role is significant in the novel, but the narrative
center isnt constructed around him, he is not an independent character, the central focus of the
novel is not based on the exploration of his inner world but of Pantagruel. Therefore he remains
on a bridge between myth and reality. This bridge has a central role in forming the inner
structure of the novel and without this concept the novel could no longer exist. here, on the one
hand we have the absence of mythology while facing the real world, on the other hand there
exists the vital energy of the reality which animates the myth by connecting it to a definite place
and time, and the myth in turn elevates the status of the reality helping it to ascend to the level of
symbolism. This character originates from Boccaccios Decameron, receives a new
personification in Rabelais novel, then it develops in Spanish picaresque novel losing the
mythological features and turns into the structural essential elements of Gargantua and
Pantagruel . Rabelais talent does not lie in his ability to create excellent characters but in his use
of language. The ultimate unity of his work is achieved through language not through
characterization. In fact, the language is the only unifying factor which is able to amalgamate the
various and rich components of the novel.

Unlike F. Rabelais Pantagruel and Gargantua , M. CervantessDon Quixote51 is built
upon one unified, coherent and comprehensive character. The sequence of the actions of the
play, the relationships, the characters, the artistic figures, the fantasies and the elaborate figures
of speech acquire their vigor and dynamism from Don Quixote himself, who is the core of the
novel, its zest and liveliness. Don Quixote is a human spirit, which is incarnated not within a
human body, but within an artistic context, he is born in the novel simultaneously giving birth to
51. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616)- Spanish novelist, poet and playwright. His magnum opus Don
Quixote considered as the first modern European novel.


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the novel itself. Although he works within the intentional framework of the author, yet he acts
quite independently from him. He lives his own life, acts according to his inner motivations and
possesses his own fate which begins from the first page of the novel and ends in the last page. In
early seventeen century, two magnificent characters appear in the realm of literature (Don
Quixote and Hamlet). These two figures appeared to finalize the perfect human figure which had
been originated from early Renaissance period, has passed through developmental stages and had
turned into the informative center of the post-medieval human-centered cultural system, the
inseparable epistemological nucleus and its inner bio-energetic force.
Don Quixote is a tragi-comedy, Hamlet is a tragedy therefore they belong to two different
genres, moreover each of them have their own life and destiny with quite opposing nature, but in
an inner level they may become unified with each other. (Maybe this could not be considered as
pure coincidence that the two works have been writhen at the same time, around 1602-1603. Don
Quixote was first published in 1605, and also it is not a case of pure chance that the two English
and Spanish geniuses died in the same year and even on the same day (1616. 23rd April).
By comparing Don Quixote and Hamlet with Rabelais novel we may find something like
an inner paradigm, consisting of three circles.

Rabelais novel is comic and possesses general satirical nature. It is basically

based upon the process of language development, but on the Utopian linguistic and structural
level, the language does not merge with the whole context of the novel. Remaining on the
ideological level, the novel is deprived of tragic or dramatic features.

Don Quixote is a tragi-comedy. Cervantes moves one step forward, combing the

tragic elements in comic milieu. As a result of this combination the character together with the
whole structure of the novel turns into tragi-comedy (in H. Hayne52 or A. Pushkins53 words it
turns into a laughter among tears), no where else these two elements are so merged with each
other than in this work.

Shakespeares Hamlet is the final circle of this three stage paradigm. It is totally

included within the zone of tragedy, lacking any comic features although in the play we come
across to certain comic elements. (this has been discussed in detail in literature).
52. Hanrish Hayne (1797-1856)- German journalist, essayist and literary critic
53. Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)- Russian author of Romantic era

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 62

As we have seen, from mid sixteenth century to the early seventeen century in European
(Christian) literature the course of the incarnation of man (man as an integrated inseparable
substance, which appears as Christ-man to substitute the medieval Christ-God creating a new
epistemological-aesthetic system with all its parameters) possesses a certain type of ordinance
which finds its expression in the ascending direction of Rabelais- Cervantes- Shakespeare,
reaching its climax in Shakespeare works by the tragic figures (characters) that he creates.
As we have already stated, Rabelais appreciates the world and the history from a comic
perspective , mocking all those things that exist in the reality. F.Rabelais dominates over the
novel; all the incidents and characters of the novel depend upon his intention, his appreciation of
the reality and his method of rationalization. The universal gap between the reality and the
ideal instead of passing through characters, passes through the author, therefore the characters
turn into comic puppets lacking any personal dynamism and character development.
This dynamism functions between Rabelais and reality, acting as a comic element within
the language of the author. This comic element in the language mocks all the concepts that
originate from middle Ages it means that all Middle age traditions die for the sake of gaining a
new life. Those concepts that are not comic (the man and his new understanding) remains in
Rabelais focus of attention as a point of departure, an ideological principle which ultimately
causes the universe to loose its ultimate meaning turning into a huge grotesque and chaos.
If you remove the masks from Rabelais characters, you will see Rabelais himself, hiding
behind those masks in order to see the image of the world within the frigid appearance of death.
The only way to tear this frigid appearance is satire and the ironic literary devices that are used
by the talented Rabelais.
In other words, Rabelais is laughing through the tears. As it may sometimes seem he is not
feeling cheerful, rather, he cries and the tears that appear in his eyes are not tears of laughter but
tears of pain and sorrow. His benevolent characters are laughing and enjoying themselves, but
the author is weeping behind them, yet the reader does not notice this.
In Cervantence Don Quixote, the protagonist not the author carries the conflict within
himself, the conflict moves from the author to the protagonist, thats why he is a character not a
mask. Don Quixote is a lively character that his existence passes through the whole novel
making the static, gloomy and frigid setting vivacious and dynamic. The author is hiding behind


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the curtain, although his dynamic style sometimes unveils his presence, but the gap runs through
Don Quixote himself. This is analogous to the progressive, restless and dynamic figure of Man
who was lucky enough to appear within the universal gap that exists between the world and the
spirit, carrying the presence of the two incompatible forces within himself, always appearing in
dual circumstances, in comic circulations of fate, moving from one situation to the other, living
simultaneously in two worlds, but while existing in one world he keeps the image of the other as
an epistemological mental image (like the unlimited horizons that appear in Leonardo Da Vincis
paintings). On the one hand, Don Quixote emphasizes the fault that exists in the real world and
on the other hand he corrects the fault. On the one hand, he lives in a network of fault and on the
other hand he himself appears as the absolute truth, the beams of which are the external radiation
of eccentricity. As M. Unamuno54 points out, Don Quixote appearing as a man (individual)
gradually crosses the boundaries of|de humanization, it seems that he descends from the status of
man by becoming insane but in fact he appears above all humans. The same process is reflected
on two scales, the external reality lies out of Don Quixote and the internal reality lies within Don
Quixote. We see a man who is deceived by the fallacious appearances of reality and a man who
sees the reality as it is. Don Quixote answers the question how is the world neither by his
actions nor by words (as we may see) but through his own being, the being of which (the being
of the being) is something we can experience either, but it is quite incomprehensible for us. The
impossibility and incomprehensibility lies in the constant transition, conversion and
metamorphosis that occurs between the two scales: the commonplace ascends and reaches the
spiritual scale, and the spiritual descends and reaches the commonplace level: this ascending and
descending are co-related. One should descend so that the other one might ascend. The heaven
descends to let the earth ascend. Man ascends to let the spirit descend (to be incarnated in human
Don Quixote is an essence which becomes incarnated within the soul of poor Alonso
Quijano and he becomes Don Quixote. He should be ready to accept that essence. Alonso
Quijano who is under the influence of the chivalric novels that he had read, is ready to accept
that essence. Although Cervantes had writhen Don Quixote as a parody of chivalric novels, but
54. Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936)-Spanish essayist, novelist, playwright and philosopher

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 64

the opposite result has been achieved (this is one of the greatest mysteries of art) through his
parody he has actually saved the chivalric spirit, by his efforts chivalry novels have entered a
new realm and they have been saved from stagnation and deterioration. Maybe Byron55 had
made a mistake in claiming that Cervantes had killed the chivalevic spirit by mocking it. In fact
Cervantes saved the chivalric spirit and provided the necessary requirements for its survival in
the new world by creating one of the greatest of all chivalric characters i. e Don Quixote.
Having double viewpoint in mind, Cervantes has created Don Quixotes character;
therefore the character by violating all time boundaries appears in double scales: the inner scale
and the outer scale. In inner scale, other time measures are functioning that do not correspond to
the outer scale. Therefore, Don Quixote appears both within the time measure (in outer scale)
and out of time measure (in the inner scale). Don Quixote is not able to notice the external time
measure because his spiritual center is connected with the internal time measure, he is associated
with several time periods rather than one time. The inner scale, that is the inner time or inner
reality, could be personified and actualized with the help of outer scale, i. e with its interference
and guidance. The insanity of Don Quixote was the only channel through which the inner scale
could be opened up in to the outer world, otherwise the incarnation of Don Quixote in Alonso
Quixono could not happen. His humor is the only possibility through which incarnation could
occur. He is acting due to his own inner scale, but the people who live in the outer world are able
to apprehend the outer scale only, that is sometimes revealing itself and sometimes concealing
itself. The two scales of Don Quixote that find their expression in tragic and comic levels of the
novel are associated with the displacement of two cultural systems (the middle Ages and the
Renaissance) and its related epistemological informative transformations that exist in the depth
of this displacement, i. e. when God Christ figure is substituted by Man Christ. As we have
stated earlier, man through his own existence obscures the God Christ figure and turns it to a
subtext or background which lies under the shadow of man occasionally becoming invisible and
Don Quixotes voice comes from Middle Ages, where Christ God figure was dominant,
but his dynamism (insanity) originates from Renaissance where Christ Man figure was
55. George Gordon Byron (1788-1824)- English poet and a leading figure of Romantic movement


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dominant. Therefore, the outer scale helps to personify the inner scale that is the comic aspect
leads to the revelation of tragic aspect; the same association exists between Christ Man figure
and Christ God figure the later sparkling in the deepest layers of the former illuminating and
signifying its whole existence. Therefore, the supreme spirit of the western culture with its two
manifestations: God and Man have been incarnated within the soul of Don Quixote, the first
acting in the inner scale the second in the outer scale. In such circumstances, one cannot survive
without the other, the second opens up the path which leads to incarnation (here, that is the
artistic features) simultaneously receiving its existential basis from the first one. The boundries
of the conception of Man extends to the first one, but they do not from an inseparable unity.
God incarnates within mans soul (within Alonso Quixano) and abandons him before death,
when Don Quixote consciousness rests upon his human basis. The sentence which is written on
his tombstone has a powerful metaphoric significance he lives in madness, dies in wisdom.
From another perspective the words mad and wise have changed their position and
significance. In fact he was wise when he seemed to be mad, and was mad when he seemed
to be sane. Here, wisdom has a human aspect (human wisdom, comparing with divine wisdom
is no longer a wisdom), but the divine madness is not accessible for humans (remember Platos
teachings about divine madness which was related to the heavenly inspiration in Ions
dialogue). Abandoning Don Quixote on death bed, the Divine madness doesnt abandon the
world, which might give another attribute to the novel; rather it continues its existence within
Sancho Panzas soul, which appears in the final pages of the novel as a new and unique Don
The divine madness which appears as an insanity in the external course of the universe,
once incarnated it is never interrupted and moves from one person to another, from one
consciousness to the other, awakening, reconstructing and defamiliarizing all the humans by his
In the novel, Don Quixote appears as an inner symbol, and Sancho as the embodiment of
the whole humanity as the substance, which possess the possibility of becoming spiritual. In fact
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are two symbolic allegoric figures, representing the
epistemological connotations of the soul and the substance, the above and below, poetry and
prose. In this sequence, the second concepts stand in sharp contrast with the first ones, gradually

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 66

conveying within itself the powerful impact of the first inclining toward them resigning
themselves to the inner energies of the first ones, like the inspiration energy of Plato, that he
compares with the magnet, stating that the magnetic metals are able to attract other metals either
(that is the readers)Dulcinea del Toboso incarnates the allegorical feature of glory, who turns
from a common peasant woman to the symbol of glory as a result of Don Quixote spiritual
mirage. This glory is not the consequence of Don Quixote egoistic ambition; rather it is the
manifestation of the triumph of spirit over reality. Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and Dulcinea del
Toboso triangle in its inner scale has several epistemological significances.

Man (Don Quixote), Humanity (Sancho Panza) Glory, (Dulcinea del Toboso).

Man as an essence is higher then humanity (the upper scale Platonic Eidos56) Humanity as a
phenomenon (the lower scale Platonic Menon57) single individual changing in to plural)
stands against Man, (who is invisible as an Eidos, he is observable only in spiritual scale) accepts
its impact and constructs its From58 (Aristotelian concept of Form). Under this impact, the Glory
as a form of energy (Platonic concept of Eros, Aristotelian intellect and psyche) acts as the
source of action and determines its nature and purpose.

Spirit (Don Quixote) Body (Sancho Panza) Soul (Dulcinea Del Toboso).

Here Don Quixote is personalized but he does not act as an individual character. To talk in more
specific terms, its could be said that he is the spirit of chivalry incarnated within a concrete
character which helps him to ascend to the world of indefinite generalities and deprives him from
its individuality. Sancho Panza is the body. His materialized existence which has certain
relations with the figure of Don Quixote. Sancho is Don Quixotes sword bearer; he helps him to
reach to the level of the realization of spirit. Dulcinea is the soul, the essence of the individuality,
the inner existence of Don Quixote, with the help of whom the spirit turns in to individuality.

56. Eidos- Greek term , meaning form, essence, type, species

Plato in his Theory of Forms asserts that Eidos is the non-material abstract forms or ideas which possess the
highest and the most fundamental reality, not the material world of change known to us through sensation.
57.Menon is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato . It attempts to determine the nature of virtue or arete meaning
virtue in general, such as justice or temperament.
58. Example(According to Aristotelian theory) If a lump of bronze is shaped into statue , then bronze is the matter
which loses one form (that of a lump ) and gains a new form (that of a statue).Form includes complex qualia
such as color, texture, shape etc.


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Poetry (Don Quixote) prose (Sancho Panza) inspiration (Dulcinea) Don

Quixote is the symbol of poetry and poetical concepts which possesses its inner reality and lives
due to its own norms and conventions (image, rhythm, freedom), he is tall and thin, it seems that
he occupies no space on earth. He is like a gothic church, who strives for reaching the heaven, all
in motion and whirling away. Sancho Panza is the prose. short and fat, clinging to earth, heavy
and slow in his movements, lacking imagination, rhythm and freedom. Don Quixote descends
from poetry to the wisdom of prose, and the prose itself under the influence of poetry
transcends into the realms of poetry )|dont die, my Lord, Sancho addresses the dying Don
Quixote). Dulcinea is the inspiration, through her invisible existence, she is the one who is able
to induce energy in Don Quixote and to keep him within the poetic reality of herself.
The brilliance and the tragedy of
The Ill-fated Awareness
Talking about the masterpieces of the great authors Ernest Cassirer59declares: These
works are not the sudden and spontaneous flashes of passionate emotions, rather they possess
a deep sense of unity and continuity. The great authors of tragedies and comedies such as
Euripides60 and Shakespeare, Cervantes and Moliere61 do not attempt to entertain us by
presenting individual sceneries of life.

These sceneries are infact deceptive shadows by

themselves but while reading them, all at once beyond these shadows new realities emerge for
us.62.The essential component, here is the unity (the continuity is related to the presentation of
sceneries in time sequence) beyond which appears the concealed reality and the new reality
which lies there. In Cervantess novel, man appears in a much unified form, he occupies the
central position of the novel, dominates over it, lives his own independent life without the
interference of the author, who instead of talking about the hero, dramatizes him as an
independent entity and then leaves him to lead his own life, facing all the consequences of this
59. Ernest Cassirer (1874-1945) German philosopher, trained within Neo Kantian school
60. Euripides (c.408-406B.C)- was one of the three great tragedians of Classical Athens, the other two being
Aeschylus and Sophocles.
61.Jean Baptiste Moliere (1622-1673)- French playwright , considered as one of the greatest masters of comedy
62. Essay on Man written by Ernest Cassirer (1946)

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 68

independence. Cervantess novel is a novel of character unlike Gargantua and Pantagruel which
is a novel of language. The unity which exists between the novel and the character is based upon
the comic and tragic elements which constitute the inner contradictory structural components of
the work and the new reality is based upon the epistemological psychological as well as
structural linguistic foundations of this contradiction. The novel is protected from the
destructive impact of time, from the danger of degeneration, and this occurs several times, when
the tragic turns into comic. The novel contains all these epistemological psychological
transitions within itself. No matter how much Don Quixote starts to see the objective world as it
is in the second half of the novel (to put in L. Borges63 witty statement; In the second half of
the novel Don Quixote acts in a way that it seems that he has already read the first half) but the
unity of the novel which is based upon the two primary foundation is observed up to end of the
novel. Cervantes has created the first universal character, which is not analogous to any other
character , although many writers of the next generation have made attempts to create similar
characters and therefore a certain tendency of Don Quixotism with a specified meaning and
significance had emerged in literature.
This duality of character no longer exists

in Shakespeares masterpieces. Here man

appears as the axis of culture and the informative center of literature, from which all motives,
structures, styles and literary schools originate and reach to the climax as the Christ God figure
in Middle Ages. Since thirteenth century, with the formation of the new sweet style, Man
entered the realm of literature, he develops and reaches its climax of evolution in Shakespeares
works, as the final circle of Renaissances epistemological paradigm. F. Rabelais comedy was
followed by M. Cervantes tragi comedy, and this was followed by Shakespeares tragedy.
Shakespeare concludes this inner epistemological circle in a special way. He presents man in his
totality as a tragic figure. In other words, man who has reached the climax of the corporal
incarnation stands against the medieval God. (not in contradictory position, but as the second
equal half of Christ). This man is crucified in Shakespeares tragedies reviving the mystery of
Golgotha, i. e. restoring the literal, humanistic and individualistic aspect of Christ. If the climax
of the intellectual artistic development of medieval period was mystery plays (that we have
63. Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) Argentinean short story writer, essayist, poet and translator.


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discussed earlier) then Shakespeare tragedy has the corresponding role in Renaissance. Here the
focus of our discussion is not on the artistic permanence of these works in the history of culture
such values are quite unstable and relative ) rather we want to emphasize on their role and
significance upon the spiritual intellectual development of mankind. By its very nature, Middle
Ages have theological rather than artistic significance in the history of culture, while the
significance of Renaissance period is artistic and not theological. The theological aspect in the
Middle Ages had artistic function either and this is a point which becomes obvious when we
expand the boundaries of the literature to encompass other domains of intellectual activities,
which deal with human discourse as their medium of communication. (This is basically true
about theology and history. For example the Armenian historiography of fifth century was not
considered as a literary work due to the standards of his own time, but in medieval era that works
were categorized as literary pieces ). Literature in Renaissance period could have theological
sublayers within its inner informative center. Therefore, while discussing the Middle Ages, we
mainly focus on its theological aspect which was constructed around its informative nucleus
(God), meanwhile possessing artistic aspects to satisfy the aesthetic demands of medieval man.
On the other hand, when we analyze Renaissance period, we mainly focus on its literary artistic
aspect (including fine arts and music which appeared later) in which man appears as its
informative nucleus and the theological aspect remains as its subtext, satisfying the spiritual
needs of the contemporary man. The search remains the same for man both in Middle Ages and
in Renaissances period (from the poetic sweet style of mid thirteen century to twentieth
century). The former stresses upon the theological and the later upon the literary artistic
Because of its external dichotomy Renaissance art considers medieval period as culturally
unfavorable one where no plants grow there (this is a Hegelian attitude which stands in sharp
contrast with German Romanticism, who strives to gain the spiritual light of the medieval
period or the blue flower or the spiritual daytime as Novalis64 calls it. From the viewpoint of the
Middle Ages, the Renaissance man must have been appeared in the world as a bewildered,
absurd, pathetic creature, an unmanageable barbarian who gives priority to the transient rather
64. Novalis (1772-1801)- was the pseudonym of George Philip Friedrich Freihern von Hardenberg, a poet, and
philosopher of early German Romanticism.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 70

than eternal, because of his own stupidity. The dichotomy between the theological and the
literary artistic aspects, as we have already seen has an external dimension either, which is
related to the structural development of the culture. This dimension is closely related to the
transitional process which occurs between the two informative centers; however this transition
occurs within the same structural system as the two halves of the whole system, as the basis of
the whole macro system that is the two faces of Christ, Christ as God and Christ as Man. The
external paradox of God Man merges into one within the existence of Christ himself forming
an inseparable unity (the ultimate purpose of Christian mystery).
The ultimate level of mans evolution is presented in Shakespeares plays, similarly the
climax of the evolution of Christ God figure is portrayed in mystery plays of Middle Ages.
Shakespearean tragedy follows Cervantes tragi comedy which is the logical outcome and the
final circle of Rabelais comic drama Cervantes tragi comedy and tragedy (of Shakespeare), the
culmination of man centered paradigm of cultural studies. In a much broader scale it could be
concluded as follows: Dante (the heavenly realm of Beatrice) Petrarch (the ideal realm of
Laura between heaven and earth) Boccaccio (Fiammattas heavenly realm) Villon (personal
destiny the realm of I) Rabelais (comedy the formation of linguistic lexical structures)
Cervantes (the tragi comical status of man, containing within himself the presence of the two
paradoxical worlds) Shakespeare (tragedy as the sole possibility of the perfect man Ill fated
In Shakespeares works man appears as an overall essence, an integrated inseperable
system and as the center of being, which had crossed the whole geocentric universe bearing all
consequences of this excursion. Let us not assume this statement as paradoxical but in
Shakespeares creative works man occupies the same position as the earth does in Ptolemaic65
astrology on the other hand the Copernican66 heliocentric universe functions within that
geocentric existence, and this process is carried out with such harmonic symmetry, that a kind
of invisible transition occurs from the one to the other, the two entities penetrate into one
65. Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy)- (c90AD- c.168AD) was a Greco-Roman writer known as mathematician and
astronomer. He presented the geocentric idea of the universe according to which the earth lies in the center of the
universe and the sun and other planets revolve around it.
66. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated the
heliocentric model of the universe which placed the sun rather than the earth in the center of the universe.


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another and become transfigurated as one unified spiritual cosmos which possesses human
characteristics and human destiny. It seems impossible to find any extravagant exaggeration or
understatement in Shakespeares works while he is portraying any dimension of human
personality. This feature doesnt appear while Shakespear is portraying human passions, motives,
and the moral ethical as well as social political tendencies of characters rather this feature is
noteworthy while he is presenting human beings as a single inseparable Platonic Idea, a from of
existence, an absolute soul image of Christianity upon which or within the boundaries of which
lie the personality traits of different characters, their tendencies and destinies, manifesting within
themselves the diverse invisible emanations of human beings and their inner conflicts. (like the
inclination of angles toward God). The difference is the fact that since the angles are the
emanations of divine existence they do not have conflicts with each other, they lack the concept
of I, and therefore they cannot possess egocentric tendencies (unlike luciferian creatures that
have been deviated from heavenly principles). The emanations of human soul appear on different
levels, with different moral and psychological features, as egocentric beings, deviating from their
own humanistic sources and significances. Thats why, the Shakespearean hero talks about the
perfection of man)(Hamlet to Horatio:) What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason ,
How infinite in faculties 67Hamlets statements are not about any specific man, but the man,
whose presence he wishes to feel among all those who are surrounding him. What Hamlet sees in
around himself is so far off from the real essence of mankind that he wishes to to die, to sleep,
perchance to dream68 .The angles descending from heaven as emanations of God preserve
the Gods essence within their soul as supreme beings (R. M. Rilke)69 while human beings by
entering the realm of existence, throw that essence (which lies within his soul) and begin to
apprehend life from the viewpoint off their own personal arrogance and gradually plunges into
the darkness of the universe. Hamlet rationally rather than emotionally understands the nature of
man as a soul image, and he is quite aware of the incarnation of this image in the universe and
the possible conflicts that this image is going have while facing the social reality. What specifies
67.What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express
and admirable, in actions how like an angel , in apprehension how like a god (Hamlet: 2.2:304-307)
68. Hamlet:3.1: 65-66
69. Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)- Bohemian Austrian poet and novelist. Known as one of the most lyrically
intense German language poets.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 72

Hamlet from the other characters of Shakespeare is the fact that it was in Hamlet that the light of
awareness for the first time flourishes. After wandering and contemplating for long time he
reaches the genuine awareness and gains the intellectual enlightment. He notices the horrible
darkness where men are plunging into, all men experiencing it without exception intentionally or
unintentionally, the hell in the dark domain of which all inhabitants are joined to one another by
the same sin. The time is out of joint70. This idea of Hamlet dramatizes not only the holistic
concept of fall by contrasting the present with the past, as it might be seem in the first glance (the
criminal Claudius being the symbol of the present and Hamlets father of the past), (which
might seem as a shallow interpretation) but also the disharmony, asymmetry and fatal
discrepancy that exist between mans soul and his earthly existence , consequently leading to his
downfall. Shakespearian hero experiences this discrepancy quite differently from Don Quixote.
Being similar to Don Quixote in its inner layer, Hamlet appears with completely different
characteristic, since unlike the Spanish hidalgo he is a tragic figure. Hamlet could be (or not to
be) characterized as anything except a comic figure. The domain of Shakespearean Hamlet has
nothing to do with comedy; the realm of awareness is quite different from the realm of comedy
(he who realizes his own statues as being comic is no more a comic figure). The tragic situation
appears whenever man gains insight and awareness (for example Othello becomes aware of the
fact that Desdemona was innocent after killing her). Within the ample Shakespearean character
gallery, where we meet almost all types of characters and temperaments only one character
seems to be absent and that, is Don Quixote who appeared in Cervantess novel, and that is the
place where he should appear. Don Quixotes madness is not premeditated but Hamlets is.
Those who call Hamlet mad are in the state of doubt and bewilderment , they suppose to know
him but actually they dont. The radiance of Hamlets light of awareness is so dazzling that his
own real image becomes obscured and all that remains for people is a mere masked image of
him, upon which they see odd and unusual signs which they interpret them as madness, since
they have no better word to name it. The masked madness of Hamlet is not Don Quixotes
madness. For Don Quixote this madness is the only way of being, that is the only quality which
turns the honest hidalgo Alonso Quixote to Don Quixote. Hamlets madness protects him from
70. Hamlet 1.5:196


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the outer world, he doesnt experience the type of duality from which Don Quixote suffers. He is
the unified, inseparable, integrated man (here is the man as Bible says), a new image of
man, in Latin it is called individum, the inner contradictions of whose are in fact the sigs of the
resiliency of his mental psychological world, his dynamism, his strange capability in accepting
new dimensions and specifications which has nothing to do with his impersonality and
indecisiveness, rather this is considered as a sign or consequence of his humanistic integrity. His
dynamic unity and the ultimate level of his humanistic consciousness. It seems that what
happens to him as an inevitable determinism of his destiny, in Shakespeares play gains a
mystical significance and the real events occur beyond the curtains which are invisible for the
physical eye and inaccessible for human consciousness. Before death Hamlet asks his friend
Horacio to tell other people all that he has seen, all that he knows but he remains silent because
Horatio had not seen all that had occurred in Hamlets inner world, he didnt knowwhat actually
had caused Hamlet to fall in to a tragic situation. Without knowing this , speaking about Hamlet
would turning to a distortion of the reality and a diversion from the main essence which means
the disturbance of the process of mystery. Othello asks the same thing from men of Venice
Speak of me as I am ; nothing extenuate / Nor set down aught in malice71. Each word that
deviates from the main context is a malicious act. Othello approaches it unconsciously while
Hamlet does it consciously. Othellos tragedy is the tragedy of unconsciousness on the other
hand Hamlets tragedy is the tragedy of consciousness, while it is mainly rooted in
unconsciousness and occasionally it crosses the boarders of unconsciousness and reaches the
invisible realm of spirit.

Crossing the borderline

the ghost becomes visible. Hamlets

consciousness is ready to be encountered with the ghost. When Horatio informs him about the
appearance of the ghost, Hamlet after a short pause replies: Very like, very like.72.
If Hamlet believes in the existence of the ghost, it will become important for him to verify
its existence in the realm of consciousness. Hamlet doesnt believe in the existence of his fathers
ghost, therefore he is obliged to consider this faith as a conscious one, this is the same thing that
Othello was supposed to do as his tragic merit, the illumination of the consciousness, which is
gained at the cost of shattering the unconscious forces. The origins of this illumination is not
71. Othello (Act 5 scene 2)
72. Hamlet (Act one , scene 2)

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 74

obvious in Hamlets case, it is not easy to say that when and where the illumination of Hamlets
consciousness begins. He appears along a spiritual path, he is carrying the torch of illumination
and he is able to see whatever other people are not able to see, he notices the inner psycho
intellectual reflexes of the people around him, the chain of evil that joins them all to each other,
no matter what their real attitudes are.
All of them, even his beloved Ophelia are involved in Claudiuss crime, therefore by
killing Claudius that could be done for the sake of taking vengeance of him nothing will change
in the world, the chain of evil will still go on joining new people to each other. Christ, while
being crucified, addressed God and says: Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they
are doing73. On a different level, Hamlet might repeat the same statement since those people
who are around him (or are crucifying him) are unaware of their own deeds either; they dont
know that they are acting as puppets in the hands of evil forces. Polonius who doesnt live his
own life but some of others (here with Claudiuss life) consequently dies not with his own life
but with others ( in stead of killing Claudius Hamlet kills him accidentally but it seems that
there was no accidentality at all). His mother, Gertrude who has married Claudius, the murderer,
unconsciously helps the murderer to reinforce his position. Ophelia, the most nave character of
the play, who has not gained mental maturity yet and her intuition has not developed enough to
understand the mechanism of evil, Laertes who tries to take revenge of his dead sister and father
through his pseudo attempts, the treacherous friends who slavishly serve the king trying to
demolish their friend, Horatio who loves Hamlet for his exuberant behavior (here exuberant is
used metaphorically, meaning decent, joyful and positive) are unable to penetrate deeply into the
essence of Hamlets tragic situation. Hamlets mystery and the evangelical Golgotha could form
equivalents on two different levels (celestial and earthly). In Golgotha Christ was crucified
through defeating the world (the world about which Christ had talked, means evil), in the
latter the man was crucified through acquiring tragic position and shining upon the mankind
and illuminating their souls. (in literature, no holy book as Gospels are written to illuminate
mans essence, rather the literary works are written to reveal mans inner thoughts , his
reflections and his spiritual construction.) Shakespeares masterpieces could be compared to
73. Luke 23:34


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Gospels, but it is not the same as Gospels , since it deals with man not God, on the back of whom
(or within its soul) the heavenly forces are functioning (the Christ God figure, which as
previously stated functions as an epistemological background for Renaissance period and Christ
man figure re-interpreting his existence in the universe). Hamletian Golgotha is the
reincarnation of evangelical Golgotha on a human scale. Mans crussification should offer him a
new chance to be restored for a new life. Tragedy induces great impulse to European mentality
opening the horizons of human intellect and soul. Here, the inevitable impact of Shakespearean
tragedies in forming the intellectual potentials of seventeen century man is inevitable. Here the
most significant and mysterical role belongs to Hamlet. The great spiritual energy which
originates from this tragedy is mysterical acting upon on a literary artistic scale rather than a
spiritual one. Therefore, the whole creative work of Shakespeare should be regarded as play
mystery which corresponds with the medieval mystery plays, the only difference being the fact
that the later acts on an earthly plan .
The existence of tragedy as a distinctive genre (not as a category) and its logical
development are justified due to the previously mentioned arguments. The Dionysusian tragedy
of Shakespeare (to use Nietzshean term) is in contrast with Apollonian tragedy of Dante as
theater tragedy opposes poem epic. Talking about Divine Comedy Mandelstam74 focuses on
the sculptural qualities of Dantes art, which are manifested in his characters, their plasticity, the
metaphors, and other linguistic features of his language, and the possibility of watching its four
dimensions from outside as a total cumulative construction being unfolded in front of the eyes of
the poet. Shakespearean art doesnt possess such sculptural qualities; its construction is not only
full of images but also possesses an imperative (literery-inspiritual) quality. This could be
characterized as a view from inside which is intricately connected with the inner energy and
dynamism of language.
Although Divine Comedy embraces a huge dynamism of images, characters and an intense
current of metaphors but on its totality it appears as static. Universe is a ready-made
phenomenon set before the man. He accepts the universe as it is offered to him as the reality and
he passes through it without changing its static (final and finished) construction. His own inner
74. Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891-1938) Russian poet and essayist

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 76

self undergoes certain changes, being reconstructed for the celestial world, while the world in its
totality (the Hell, Purgatory, Paradise and Dantes world) remains the same as Ptolemaeusian
cosmos. In Shakespeares works, such a static and finalized universe does not exist. The world
moves on the circle of the endless reconstruction and changes. There is no ready-made reality
for Hamlet, he himself constructs everything, the distinctive feature of which is not the word but
silence (the phrase words, words, words uttered by Hamlet shows how suspicious he is
toward the validity of human words) yet J. P. Sartre75 defines the silence as the climax of the
drama, its epistemological center or Hamletian secret. The scriptural and imaginative principle
could not be applied for Shakespearean dynamic, collapsible and reconstructive world. The basis
of this world is consciousness or in a much broader scale, the reason (intellect), which is the
only cause of mans existence and the only principle of his spiritual dynamism and the only
prerequisite of his presence (mans presence on earth is conditioned to his thinking).
Rationalizing is the individualized version of thinking, a kind of

personage or name for

thinking. In Shakespeares play the construction and the destruction of the world corresponds
with the development and dynamism of Hamlets rationality when he observes the deflection of
the world from its rational path he exclaims why I was born to correct it? does Hamlet
correct this deflection or not? Yes, Hamlet corrects it at the cost of falling in to a tragic situation;
his self sacrifice is the ransom that he pays to the known and unknown forces. This is an
intentional act and the imperative of the free will. On the borderline of the closed Ptolmaeusian
universe and the open Copernican universe the tragic act of Hamlet takes place that is the
revelation of the infinity of human awareness which creates an enormous

upheaval on

different levels of human mind and spirit.

In literature, the most comprehensive image of man is presented by Shakespeare. Hamlets
indecisiveness and uncertainity are so huge that an illusion of the deficiency of characterization
is created, as Leo Tolstoy76 criticizes Shakespeare for his inability in creating a self-willed
character (this is the quality that Vygotsky77 specifies as the unique characteristic of Hamlet). In
fact, we couldnt say that Shakespeare is unable to create a character with definite behavioral
75. Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980)- French existentialist philosopher
76. Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)- Russian novelist and short story writer
77. Lev Vygotsky ( 1896-1934) Russian psychologist, the founder of cultural historical psychology.


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features and stable temperament, rather he creates such a multilayered characters possessing
different psycho-philosophical dimensions

that corresponds with Copernican micro cosmic

structure. Therefore, from the viewpoint of modern man, Hamlet could be addressed as follows:
here is the man . this is what Fortinbras does in the final section of the play, presenting a
new understanding of Hamlet, not from the moral-ethical but from an epistemological - comic
It is not easy to specify different components of mans psychological being in Hamlet,
namely the spirit, the soul and the body, since these components from a totality in Hamlet and
none of them dominates over the other. As a spirit he doesnt possess personal aims and
temptations, as a soul he is gifted with a lyrical world, as a body, Hamlet plays a leading and
active role in the hierarchical system of his community, while as a thoughtful individual he
strives to rationalize and regulate his activities (Conscious doth make cowards of us all78).
The fundamental causes of Hamlets tragic situation could not be traced in his inner
incompatibility and disharmony rather it lays in the outer world, in the fatal predetermination of
the history. In Renaissance period this predeterministic sense ascended human beings to a
superior position and made them become identical with God, in more exact terms to become
Christ-Man which obscures Christ-God figure. Hamlet is gifted with a harmonious and balanced
mental world but he lives in a disharmonious and incompatible universe. Being disharmonious
and incompatible connotes the idea of the violation of Christs equilibrium and balance, when his
human aspect, as it happened in middle ages when the heavenly facet of Christ obscures the
earthly facet. With Shakespeare, Renaissance period reaches its pinnacle and gains its most
perfect structure, when man strives for his human identity and freedom and as declaring his
own will and purpose in life (this includes all those things that I had mentioned earlier about St.
Peters denial which provides the necessary cultural epistemological background for the
emergence of symbolic allegorical figure of Renaissance man).
He confronts a reality in which the social world stands in sharp contrast with his inner
world. Hamlets situation here has great affinities with St. Peters situation in Gethsemane79
garden, in the night when Christ was arrested when he felt absolutely free and started to cry
78. Hamlet (Act 3, scene 2)
79. A garden where Christ was arrested to be crucified

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 78

bitterly. Man finds his own self, but through his own self he conceals God. Gods absence
creates the fatal contradiction of modern man from which the set of human failures and tragedies
initiate. In Middle Ages man finds God and loses his own self, therefore the God that he finds is
a one dimensional God, through abandoning him he tries to find his own self, but what he finds
is the one-dimensional Man (Christ-Man) leaving the existence of God under its shadow as the
concealed existence of man during Middle Ages being obscured under the dazzling light of God.
The deepest and the most inaccessible epistemological basis of Shakespearean tragedies is
the inadequate presence of God among human souls and human communications, the dominion
of earthly passions over the heavenly love and all those features which leads human avarice to a
calamitous situation. Shakespearean heroes are suffering, and collapsing within a real world
where the presence of God is not sufficiently defined, and the great psychological energy, i. e.
human conscious which is the manifestation of Gods presence within human souls is absent.
Although as Shakespeare demonstrates human conscious never dies ( in his plays even the most
cruel murderer is aware of the deplorable nature of his criminal act and therefore experiences a
period of moral crises), but the dim rays of this conscious is not enough for embracing the full
presence of God. Shakespeares heroes are acting independently and self sufficiently, they are
acting without the intervention of the author within the framework of Bakhtins
polyphony80principle. Each character has his own voice, his own destiny and his choice and
his own sense of responsibility for making his choice. The insufficient presence of God leads to
the self-realization of the people living in a complex and chaotic circumstances and under the
dominion of different forces: some of them are guided toward criminal acts (Richard II,
Claudius, Macbeth, etc.), another group toward fatal pessimism (like Timon of Athens) who
doesnt find, others toward love and the forceful quest for meaning who become collapsed in the
external world and on the course of the realization of their objectives (Romeo and Juliet and
Antony and Cleopatra), toward surrender and frustration against human vicious nature (Othello
and King Lear) or Hamletian tragic awareness. Sometimes these qualities are portrayed within
the framework of comedies with their delightful and jubilant features like (The Merchant of
Venice, Comedy of Manners, Twelfth Night, The Merry wives of Windsor etc) or the brilliant
80. Polyphony is a feature in narrative which includes a diversity of points of views and voices. Bakhtin claimed that
polyphony and heteroglossia are the defining features of novels and short stories


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and delightful allegorical features of tragicomedies (the Tempest). Shakespeares heroes do not
search for God, this quest is the typical of Dionysian art, which deals with the innermost forces,
allowing them to act and speak with their self-determining intention and desire, but the motive of
their life and tragic situation on the individual-unconscious level is the inadequate presence of
God, the Hamletian silence which more or less includes not only Hamlet but also other heroes.
(Like King Lear who plunges into silence because of experiencing intense psychological
shocks and only talks to Cordelias dead body immediately before his death). This silence
encompasses all the characters, although they talk, soliloquize, think and express their ideas, but
their emotions and psychological conditions are so deep and multilevel that the words do not
suffice them, they talk(or communicate) by their silence. They live; act and die within the
boundaries of that silence and nobody except Hamlet is able to show the root cause of his
tragic situation. The quest for God is an initiative motive in Shakespeares works, his creative
experience and his characters experience it in an intuitive level. By leading a tragic life as the
only real aspect of the existence, where all his attempts to gain objectives are doomed to fail
(even the antagonists plunge into their evil acts as an evidence of this failure) Shakespeares
character reaches the level of the absolute appreciation of mankind and portrayed man as the
center of new culture and its nucleus. Shakespeare depicts mans inner integrity and unity and
his manifestation in the universe, meanwhile he shows his failure, his collision and
disappearance in the socially disharmonized and imbalanced world. While man enters such a
world he finds nothing except tragedy therefore he retreats, feeling defeated in a world that offers
him no prospect and promise. In Shakespeares works man reaches the pinnacle of artistic
revelation, meanwhile by turning into a social man he becomes defeated, demolished and finally
Post Shakespearean literature shows the complete breakdown and disintegration of man in
different levels and in various literary schools up to twentieth century where man reaches the
final phase of disintegration and turns into a structure, an irrational being who is governed
by the lowest forms of instincts, or a rational machine that has nothing to do with art, who has an
interesting but useless past.
Shakespeares works are the zenith and the turning point to which man has strived to
reach since the thirteenth century (especially in the form of Italian poetry). After reaching this

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 80

climax, the man gradually retreats and his process of disintegration begins, this process begins in

classical period and then moving toward eighteenth century enlightment period, then

Romanticism, afterwards it appears in Dostoyevskys81, Franz Kafkas


and finally the

Surrealist and Absurdist literature (especially Samuel Beckett83). Shakespeares works cannot
be categorized under any specific literary school. If we visualize Renaissance period in a much
broader scale, as a unified integrated cultural system (or macro-system) which encompasses
several subsystems in its apogee and perigee, we could say that Shakespeares works lie in the
focal point of this system. (since Dante, three centuries preceeding him and three centuries
following him up to the age of Modernism). This feature ( the impossibility of being categorized
under any literary school ) is also applicable to the structure of his whole artistic achievement as
well as his poetics which is impossible to evaluate by any definite criteria. Each literary direction
(movement) has its own dominant literary genre. i.e.: for Classicism , it is tragedy, for
Enlightment it is novel and for Romanticism it is poetry, while in the case of Shakespeare this is
not true. His creative world encompasses all genres (tragedy, comedy, lyrical poetry.) each
acting as the congruent components of the same system. His lyricism is elaborated not only in
his 154 sonnets, but also it constitutes the foundation of his creative thinking and the deep
structure of his other works either. Shakespeares language, regardless of the context in which it
appears preserves its extreme poetic lyrical profoundness (in poetic sections, in prose sections
in soliloquies in his dialogues and in both his high and low styles) and his complex plot
structures resembles the form and structure of novel (for example King Lear possesses a complex
web of plots and subplots and the characters undergo a sophisticated developmental course). The
inner architectural construction of his plays possesses an accurate structure and an unfailing
theatrical essence. (these plays are written both for the purpose of reading and performing). After
Shakespeare , Poetics begins its process of disintegration (by Poetics we mean an unbreakable
unity that exists between form and content , a unified system of structural components) and each
newly appearing literary movement after Shakespeare focuses only on one aspect of Poetics , on
the other hand the same process of disintegration and separation occurs for human psyche either.
81. Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)- Russian novelist and short story writer
82. Frantz Kafka (1883-1924)- German language writer of novels and short stories
83. Samuel Beckettt (1906-1989)- Irish avant guard playwright and novelist


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Consequently after Shakespeare we see that the movement of New Classism focuses on Human
Spirit making Tragedy the dominant literary genre of the era, while for Enlightment the body
becomes the focal point leading to the appearance of Novel and Romantic period concentrated
upon Human Soul making Lyricism the major genre.
In this general discussion Goethe occupies a specific position. For him the concept of
Man, the Unity of Life and the inner inseparable correlation between these two possesses a
significant meaning. In Faust we see the fatal duality that the Man faces. The only possibility of
overcoming this duality is through arduous struggle on a mental- spiritual level and this is
possible on heaven (where the soul of Gretchen becomes unified with Fausts soul) not on earth
(Life is an empty mirage/The short earthly life. The heaven is the sole cradle of longings).
In Hamlet , where man is presented as the crown of the universe the audience witness
the early signs of the disintegration of the individual . This is a process which undergoes several
stages, the inner sides of human soul are shrunk, and the human integrity becomes shattered and
metamorphosed. Human soul abandons human body and it wanders aimlessly until in twentieth
century it reaches to a position that the Spanish philosopher- aesthetician Ortega- y- Gasset calls
it dehumanization. This is a period of human absence from the realm of culture and art. The
Spanish thinker had a sense of optimism toward this new art but it never become actualized
during the last decades especially after Second World War. The absence of the individual (or the
escape from individual as he calls it) was never substituted by a new meaning or content. As the
result of the absence of content or meaning (which constitutes the basis of human existence) the
culture, art and literature turns in to anti culture, anti art and anti literature with all their
manifestations and deceptive modifications until a new meaning and a new spiritual intellectual
meaning emerges.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 82

III. The Indecisivness of Human Soul

(Classicism- Enlightment Romanticism)

Aristocracy is originally linked with the past( the materialistic- spiritual heritage of the
previous generation as well as their educational system) therefore it receives a system of spiritual
values which has passed through historical stages and had become refined and polished.
Consequently, the mentality and the judgment of this social class are not similar to other social
classes who lack originality and are constantly seeking their identity in their daily life (including
their professional and social life). Being cut off from the past , they consider themselves as
spontaneous beings who are expected to establish their life opportunities with their own empty
hands, to rely upon the present time and to preserve it from the interference of the unknown and
suspicious forces and relations, to stick to their own personal life , to build their own personal
universe with their own efforts . For an individual who is deprived of the heritage of the previous
generation (i.e. the bourgeois) the present time is the only an opportunity where he is capable of
drawing the outline of his own existence, while for the aristocrat this outline lies in the past, in
history, functioning as an identity for him, a spiritual substance which he has inherited from his
ancestors. The present looks dim and hazy under the shadow of the past and it gradually
disappears. Therefore whatever lies in the past looks much more real than what he sees in the
present time. He receives his vital impulses from the past and he finds himself more in the past
than in the present. He seeks to receive his present identity from the past.
Here the poetic expression of Ovid84, the Roman poet and aristocrat ,gains significance.
He says When I was bound in chains I wasnt ashamed of myself, now that I am free
remembering the period that I was enchained makes me become ashamed of myself. A
84.Publius Ovidius Naso (43BC- 17AD) known as Ovid, Roman poet, traditionally ranked alongside
Virgil and Horace as one of the three canonic poets of Latin literature.


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detained man doesnt feel ashamed of himself , since his soul is free in spite of being entangled
in chains . On the level of subconsciousness , whenever the individual becomes liberated still he
finds himself being caught in chains. He draws a sketch of his own past in the present time and
makes judgments upon that sketch. Therefore the moral spiritual aspect of his
subconsciousness becomes more emphasized . Here the element of Time acts as the basic
component of the individuals subconsciousness in the process of his recognition and gaining
self identity. It means that the present (here and now) is understood as the incarnation of the
substance of Time. In other words, the individuals connection with the past signifies his
existence in present and codifies his whole system of cognition. The more distant the past , the
more organized and codified his cognition becomes and the sooner he approaches his ultimate
goals. Here the tradition gains the dominant role, upon which the element of time functions and
the different generations gain the opportunity to leave their footprint in the course of its
In the realm of literature , drama appears as the dominant genre of the seventeenth century
French Classicism functioning as the manifestation of human reason and action . Here drama is
functioning as a comprehensive literary genre and tragedy is the most significant dramatic form.
In this period , literature is based upon unshakable, stable and equivocal construction having the
Time substance as the motivating agent. Drama carries within itself the inner opposition of the
Time substance . The present time appears in a disguised shape which gradually dissolves. (as
the Platonic Menon85 the shadow of the spirit). Here the present time appears within two
conflicting elements: that is, the light and the shadow , Nomenon

and phenomenon ,

metaphysics and physics. The present time manifests itself within the construction of
consciousness, mind and creative process . At this point tragedy appears as the ultimate form of
the conflicting mind which creates insight and a deep appreciation of the periods cultural
concepts. The purpose of tragedy is to create a spiritual harmony, a balanced agreement between
different concepts and to preserve the permanent moral- ethical values against the corruption of
time. Tragedy is the victory of extreme individualism , it moves along the path of the

Meno (also transliterated as Menon)- a Socratic dialogue written by Plato discussing human virtue.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 84

The tragic figure turns toward the past, where his spiritual entity lies. There he finds his
identity and receives all necessary signals for acquiring moral- spiritual values and the
instructions that he needs to perform his role. Therefore the tragedy of the Classical period is
inclined toward the past, the dramatic actions took place in the past although they are inspired by
the present time and they are watched from the viewpoint of the present time. In other words the
present time has a hidden presence in the course of the action, acting as the motivating force of
the tragedy. Therefore two time references are functioning in the tragedy, one is observable (the
actual time of the play) and the other is non observable (the dramatists personal subjective
time). This means that the dramatist watches the present time from the viewpoint of the past.
While functioning within the first time reference, the dramatist looks for his spiritual center
in the past. There he finds his own inner existential self and the necessary inner impulses to
perform his acts. In the second case, the dramatist testifies his own absence . Here (in the
present time) his own self becomes alien and defamiliarized to him. This is a paradoxical quality
which is always present in the literature of classical period and because of this, the past is seen as
tragic and the present as comic.
On the one hand , the individual is searching for his spiritual entity in the past on the other
hand he lives in the present time but he doesnt find anything to support his spiritual dignity yet
he has a sense of commitment and moral obligation toward the present situation. This creates a
tragic situation.
Tragedy is defined as the triumph of the individual over himself, the failure of tragic figure
is defined as a forward looking step toward spiritual evolution. In this process, his consciousness
becomes one part of the spirit and he strives to reach the totality of spirit. Going through the
process of triumph- failure , the individual regains the metaphysic ( or physics) of the past and in
this way he becomes dignified.
The more tragic , the more real , this is the basic assumption of classicism. The more
drama penetrates in the past, the more it becomes resurrected to appear in the present time. The
degree of plausibility (or realness) of the present is directly linked with the past. On a specific
level of consciousness , the present becomes the metamorphosed version of the past, carrying
upon itself all the images of the past. There is no tragedy without the past and there is no history
without a possible tragic situation. The dramatic action of classical dramas occurs in the past.


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The present time has no tragedy. (Its tragedy lies in the past). The themes, the heroes, the
conflicts and other dramatic elements are borrowed from the past. The heroes of P.Corneille86
or J. Racine87 are taken from historical events in spite of the fact that these heroes sometimes
have trans- historical essence , i.e they are functioning both within the history and out of the
history, within the language system and out of language system. (This feature is completely
different from Hamletian silence , here the impossibility of using language is concerned.) The
inner conformity of the heroes, their mental tunefulness and the consistency of their actions and
all other features make each of the characters turn into closed cosmos which corresponds with
the antique cosmos.
The closed cosmos possesses a specific sculptural quality: a plastic image based upon the
mathematical- geometrical definite rhythms. The image which is taken out of stone (as
Michelangelo says) is the gesture which sets the sculpture in to motion, functioning the same
way as the intonation in poetic language which vivifies the language by its musical subjective
features. The sculptural gesture and the poetic intonation are the two aspects and expressive
devices of the same concept. Thats why we see that the seventeenth century poetry strives to
reach an architectural format (drama either due to the claim of the dramatists is defined as the
architectural arrangement of the words). This inclination of literature toward the sculptural
architectural features is a reflection of the relationship that 17th century drama establishes with
the Antique world (or Antique Cosmos). The drama of this period attempts to incorporate this
feature within its inner semantic- informative as well as outer structural constructions. The
concept of antique cosmos in the 17th century passes through the concept of Christian cosmos,
gains a new aesthetic dimension and finally becomes manifested within the genre of drama.
Within this new aesthetic construction (drama), the inner and outer constructions become tightly
interwoven due to the symmetrical principles and finally turn in to one giant unified bearer of
cosmic rhythm.
The ideological psychological proportionality of drama (the unity of thought, emotions
and actions)

becomes manifested within the language of drama. Striving for inner

proportionality is the same as the incarnation of cosmos within the soul of the hero. The other

Peire Corneille (1606-1684)- French tragedian

Jean Racine (1639-1699)- French dramatist

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 86

elements such as time, place and human relations act as anti- cosmic features, creating a kind of
deviation in the order of the cosmos. The hero moves forward, facing and overcoming all these
anti- cosmic obstacles. Here the inner semantic construction of the literary work forms a unify
with the impersonalized I of the hero. The reflection of this unity could be found in the
architecturally balanced construction of the drama including the unity of action , the stylistic
features of the work and the metrical patterns and other musical features of drama.
Here, the drama acts as a closed, finished, symmetrical and rhythmic cosmos. This cosmos
acts differently now because it has passed through the filter of the Christian cosmos and now
appears in a new era. The past with all its conventions and traditions was an established cosmos.
There, the individual ( the classical poet or his hero) had the opportunity to find his true essence
and identity and to gain a spiritual entity . In the new era , the individual is forced to live as a
physical being which is in sharp contrast with his spiritual self (being) so the new situation
appears as an anti-cosmos.
The confrontation of cosmos with anti- cosmos leads to the birth of tragedy the focal point
of which is the I of the author with all its personalized and impersonalized dimensions. The
reference of tragedy is the past while the reference of comedy is the present. The past and the
tragic somehow become synonymous. The past becomes tragic because it has gained its true
essence by contrasting the present

anti-cosmos . Here the tragic and the heroic act

interchangeably, their epistemological boarders match each other , therefore , there is no tragedy
without heroism and there is no heroism without tragedy. The point where the tragic and the
heroic meet each other is the past , the history, the blood of ancestors where the racial heritage is
preserved, the chiffre of the history or the code of aristocracy is safeguarded. If this connection
with the past and the blood of aristocracy is broken off for any reason, the hero will experience a
downfall and he will seize to exist as an individual. After the downfall and gaining an insight ,
when the hero takes a look at the present time (or situation) he finds it comic, here his true
spiritual self finds the opportunity to manifest itself. The present with all its dimensions from the
viewpoint of the aristocrats is seen as comic regardless of the fact that when, where and how its
course of the actions has taken place. The present appears comic because it functions as an anticosmos lacking any heroic or tragic aspect. Although this is the cosmos of the 17th century man
but he is connected with it through a negative correlation.


A Way to Equiliberium

Taking in to consideration the Three Directions of the Cultural Development, that is from
above to below, from heaven to earth and from spiritual- philosophical to earthly and physical,
we will see that the plays of the three dominant dramatists of the 17th century :i.e. P. Corneille,
J. Racine and J.B Moliere88 follow the same direction. In the works of the ancient Greek Drama
this direction was followed by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. The first one focuses on
religious- mythological aspect, the second on idealistic- heroic and the third on personal
psychological aspect. ( Aristotle in his Poetics talks about this issue). The above mentioned three
important French dramatists follow the same direction: Corneilles works focuses upon the
governmental- political classicism which is similar to Aeschylus style, the psychological drama
of Racine with his heroes suppressing their desires and the triumph of I have affinities with
Sophocles heroes ( Phedre89, Benerice90 , Andromaque91 and Antigone)

and Molieres

comedies portraying the downfall of aristocracy in a materialistic society (for example the
apparent immorality of Don Juan, which is the consequence of neglecting the past and the
degeneration of personal identity , the mental disability of Orgon92 and the false piety of
Tartuff93) corresponds with Euripides style although the former writes comedies while the later
writes tragedies. Euripides shows us how man is while Sophocles shows us how man should be.
On the other hand Moliere shows us how an aristocrat is nowadays while Racine shows us how
he should be. P.Corneilles and J. Racines tragedies portray the poetry of the soul (here the
noble character), the dramatic aestheticism of his spiritual- intellectual world while in Molieres
plays the miseries of losing noble blood and the prose of a man experiencing a moral
psychological downfall are presented. In 17th century, for the first time on an European stage the
present situation of the individual with all its comic and menial dimensions were portrayed, the
situation which was evaluated as scornful because it was in sharp contrast with the demands of
the 94poetic spirit of the past.


Jean Baptist Moliere (1622-1673)- French playwright.

Benerice- a five act tragedy by Jean Racine

Andromaque- a tragedy in five acts by Jean Racine
Orgon one of the characters in Tartuff
Tartuff- A comedy written by Moliere
Phedre- a dramatic tragedy written in verse by Jean Racine

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 88

Analyzing the concept of comedy, it is worth to focus on the idea of German great thinker
F. Schelling95 who says that comedy stands between art and reality. On the one hand, as far as
the structure, language, poetics and the craftsmanship of the work are concerned , comedy could
be categorized as art, on the other hand since comedy is directly related to real life and reality
itself posses certain qualities as the incapability of the street manners to be categorized under
any definite classification it couldnt be categorized as art. Being tragic is synonymous to being
connected with the spirit (to use Schellings term to be connected with the Absolute), while
being comic means being associated with the crude body. Therefore comedy functions in the
zone of reality while tragedy functions in the realm of the ideal. The relationship between these
two resembles the relationship that exists between the body and the spirit. (although for tragedy
the tangible reality has

a disguised concept which should be recreated, revealed and

reconstructed.) The comedy writer cannot write comedies just by being isolated from society and
by observing the real people and street life from his room window, it is necessary for him to
get involved with real life. On the other hand a tragedy writer writes the tragic work in silence
while sitting in his own room. Within this deep silence he is capable of exploring the whole
depth and magnitude of his own spirit. For a tragedy writer his own life experience is not that
important, rather the experience of his spirit plays a significant role in his writing process. In
other words, the spirit itself has a tragic nature, the deprivation of spirit is portrayed in comedy
and this is the comedy writer who notices the absence of spirit in the reality. J.B. Moliere lived in
mid 17th century French society where the dominant literary genre was tragedy, a genre which
was in absolute association with the heritage of aristocracy. He noticed that the basic substance
which he is looking for, the one that Racine had already found it in the heritage of the past no
more exists. Moliere attempts to remove the mask of the present and find the total emptiness
hidden under it. This emptiness and deprivation of spirit creates comic situation and laughter.
Racine does the same thing in a different direction, he removes the disguise of the past and finds
tragedy there as an ultimate expression of the spiritual heritage. In fact, the two talented authors

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854)- German philosopher


A Way to Equiliberium

reach the same reality through different directions, i.e. the heritage of aristocracy no more exists
in the present, it used to be in the past, any attempt to find it in the present is synonymous to
opening up a golden trunk which is empty. Moliere does this , he turns his key and opens this
trunk up , surprisingly he sees that there is nothing inside. Comedy originates from the
contradictions that exists between the expectation (our expectation of seeing something in the
trunk) and the reality( the emptiness of the trunk). The term Aristocracy could not be merely
used for referring to a specific social class, rather , it is a system of values and lifestyles of
different social groups living in different historical periods ( in this sense the concept of
aristocracy still exists even in present time). Thats why even nowadays we may see the
reflection of Molieres comedies. If we move one step forward from Molierian drama , we will
see the tragedy of aristocracy, making a step backwards we may confront the moaning drama
of 18th century . The dramatic hero of the moaning drama is not the one who is looking inside
the golden trunk and not finding anything there starts to laugh, rather what he finds there is his
true self, his inner image which has been detained . The lock of this trunk should be opened
up and the inner image should be liberated and the true essence of the individual should be
revealed and enlightened.
In 18th century after the appearance of the three level system of Corneille , Racine and
Moliere , there appears the individual who has cut all his connections with the past , the
individual whose existence is merely defined in the present time, his consciousness and his inner
image is here under his feet. He finds the unity of his own existence and his system of values
merely within his own materialistic being. This third social class, namely called the bourgeois
has cut all his connections with the past, he is deprived of the ethnic originality of the ancestors,
lacks any Blood heritage and hasnt inherited anything from the historical and intellectual
background of aristocracy. He finds the essence of his being within the structure of the present
materialistic world, all alone, relying upon his personal subjective energy beyond which there
lies nothing except the foggy, dull and chaotic nightmare of the history, acting as his rival and
opponent, something that suppresses and humiliates his honor and self esteem and restricts his
freedom. He separates the concept of time from the past and the future, puts it in parentheses,
then he focuses upon the content of parentheses and carefully observes its structural details and
tries to coordinate them with his own mentality and objective cognitive capabilities. The world

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 90

that lies in the parentheses is concrete, tangible but not inferential. Although this world is mixed
with human ignorance , insufficiency of vital energy and other aspects of social and communal
inequalities but if any illuminative sense of intellectuality is combined with this world , it will
turn into an interesting and acceptable concept. The individual isnt interested in exploring the
metaphysical world , rather , he is eager to recognize the contemporary physical world. He
compresses the infinite essence of the aristocracy into one temporal and spatial point, which is
the existence itself from which his own intellectual and emotional being originates. The universe
expands in its spatial dimension , the new infinite Copernican universe becomes tangible for him
(which stands in sharp contrast with the former finite universe) . This infinite universe becomes
compressed in the present time the illuminative center of which stands in sharp contrast with the
darkness of the earlier periods. The intellectual outlook of eighteenth century is directed toward
the past. This outlook decodes the history, but it doesnt become fixated in the past. For an
eighteenth century man , history is just like a textbook, he studies and analyzes this textbook and
learns many things from it but this textbook is not the whole life for him. The individual doesnt
define his whole existence in the past, he just makes a short pause in the past and then moves
forward, searching for his new identity in the new materialistic world and rambling along the
outlandish roads of the universe. The individual doesnt negate the existence of God (like
Voltaire) , he knows that he does this research without having any sufficient knowledge of
theology (Descartian Principle) and this might create certain problems in forming a true picture
of the world. The eighteenth century western man is the creator of his own self , he considers his
own being as a substance which has been offered by Divine forces (Providence) and he is
responsible to shape it into a new man. Since he doesnt acquire anything from the past, he is
forced to focus upon himself, to create his own principles, therefore he needs education,
professionalism, definite and concrete communication with the outer world, a new ethical
outlook which not only functions as different but also acts in sharp contrast with the previous
(aristocratic) morality. For an individual who doesnt have history, the present substitutes the
history and the materialistic substance gains spiritual significance. This substituted materialistic
substance creates an inverted image of the real (spiritual substance) which resembles to the
reflection of a mirror. The individual following this image gains a broad outlook, he becomes
virtuous but at the same time egoist, spiritual but at the same time atheist, contemplative yet


A Way to Equiliberium

practical. The seventeenth century man occupies an unbalanced position in history while the
position of eighteenth century man is a balanced one. In eighteen century the hierarchical
significance of

History and Nature changes. Nature appears in foreground, consequently the

Equality Principle gains preference. Nature appears as a meditative, sensitive and animated
organism. It represents a sort of unique atheistic divinity, which acts as the upholder of the secret
of creation. The qualities that are attributed to this divinity are the same as the qualities
attributed to God. If Nature becomes the Absolute then it should be capable of dissolving all
social and individual inequalities within itself since this is only God who is capable of dissolving
all inequalities within its own existence. This understanding of Nature creates a kind of
materialistic religion, an ideological anti-religion. This materialistic religion establishes a close
contact between man and the world and provides the necessary requirements for scientific
achievements. The 18th century philosophers believed that the idea of God may create
interference on the way of scientific development, therefore it should be discarded. The
calamitous consequences of this idea could be felt in 20th century either. It paralyzes the rational
capabilities of the individual, depriving him of the inner spiritual understandings and banishing
him in an incomprehensible infinite universe which acts as a big threat for his identity and
hinders his spiritual evolution.
The priority of the present era over the past, the presentation of the world as a concretematerialistic entity, the Rousseauan conception of Nature and the natural create a kind of false
theology in the aesthetic-philosophical perception of eighteenth century literature in which the
individual tries to find and actualize the illusion of equality. This illusionary idea was forcefully
actualized in the eighteenth century society during the dictatorial reign of Jacobean dynasty.
Equality is quested whenever it is absent, when it is established in a society it is often been
forgotten (the idea of actualizing social equality was practiced in a vulgar and brutal manner in
the twentieth century in Russia). Under such circumstances, the individual both finds himself as
being a part of the nature and being banished from nature. Living in urban areas or in civilized
communities, the individual finds himself being treated as an inferior being, surrounded by an
unnatural setting, being alien to civilization and all aspects of urban life. J.J Rousseaus96 heroes

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) Genevan philosopher and writer

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 92

are willing to live in nature, in perfect harmony with it, in this way they find peace and get closer
to their own true nature. The cruel hand of the civilization hinders them from reaching this
possibility and creates a deep sense of frustration and dissatisfaction. In D. Diderots97 works (
like in his novels La Religieuse Jacques le fataliste and also in his dramas Le pere de
famille Le Fils natural), the absence of the natural setting creates misfortune for the heroes. In
both cases we see that the individual is an ultra- natural being. It is not possible to impose
forcefully a natural or urban setting upon him.
In 18th century literature, the idea of presenting the individual as a unified and integrated
being became impossible. The more the individual strives to gain equality and freedom , the
more he attains inequality, subjection and dependence. The individual who has been plunged in
to the material world and external relation gradually becomes disinterested in them and strives to
gain something else, the man who lives in nature gradually becomes indifferent toward nature.
The same idea appears in 18th century British literature. Robinson Crusoe who lives in absolute
alienation, strives to live in civilized world but when he returns to the civilized world (England)
he dreams about the island. Being cut off from the past and thrown in to the world of the reality,
the individual becomes incapable of finding his way , therefore he starts to wander, rambling
between the two poles of existence which are in fact the two constituents of his bisected being.
The satirical image of the wandering man have been portrayed in J. Swifts98 Guillivers
Travels and Voltairs99 Candid. In both novels, the quest of man for finding an integrated
image of himself are portrayed, the image which has been irretrievably lost during the ages and
only its conceptual illusion has remained. This conceptual image which is incorporeal yet
animated is portrayed in The Golden City of El Dorado, glittering aimlessly in the southern
jungles of America or The Horse Island in the beautiful cornfields and grasslands in which the
yahoo gangs with their animalistic passions and frantic hunger are wandering, living in dirt
and disgraceful conditions ready to devour everything. Swifts and Voltaires works clearly
demonstrate the positive and negative aspects of the eighteenth century man. The man who is
capable of shaping the world, developing his personal intellect and analytic mind, relying upon
Denis Diderot (1713-1784)- French philosopher, art critic and writer
Francois-Marie Arouet (1694-1778)- French Enlightment writer, historian and philosopher
Johnoton Swift- (1667-1745)- Anglo Irish satirest and essayist


A Way to Equiliberium

his own self and experience in understanding the possibilities and limitations of the materialistic
aspects of the world. He clearly understands the complexity and the deterministic nature of life
and he knows that only through enlightment of mind and intellect he may reach freedom. He
passes through the antique cosmos of classical period and arrives in the eighteenth century anti
cosmos of human relationship which is as deterministic and restraining as the mathematical
accuracy of classical period. The antique man is driven by the sense of duty, commitment and
impersonal self, he is more interested in the supreme realms of human soul searching the basic
components of the Spirit (transcendence/eminence) to find meaning and essence of life, while
the eighteenth century man has cut off all his connections with the past and his own personal
instincts, experiences and interests serve as the only guideline for him. He is even attempting to
find this meaning within the constructions of molecules and cells i.e. the physical and chemical
aspect of existence (such as D. Diderots in his Le Reve DAlembert or the ideas of 18th
century French materialistic philosophers) supposing that human freedom (or the preliminary
necessity of human life as Stendhal puts it) could be achieved by the recognition and analysis of
those molecules and cells, that is through science and enlightment. Conclusively, he gains
nothing else than the mental image of freedom and the phantom of the equality, which falls as a
curtain over the unequal world, disguising its real face, and distracting the attention of man from
the real image.
The classical antique cosmos by approaching the modern era collides with the body of the
modern world and smashes into pieces, collapses as a structure meanwhile letting its musical
echoes to be heard from the past, creating a sense of melancholy, nostalgia and other
psychological torments within the soul of the eighteenth century man. These anguishes are
closely related to those inner losses that the 18 century man has experienced. He gains the
present time at the cost of losing his past (as it was earlier stated the aristocracy live in the past,
while the second class of bourgeois live in the present). He loses the history and gains the reality
(the present materialistic nature of the world). Of course through departing history, the history
itself makes a step forward. The Europeans by losing the historical aspect of life discover the
limited body of the world, this body retreats to find a new direction. Along the path of losing
history and facing the absence of real life the man experiences the sense of dissatisfaction and

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 94

The complex, multidimensional and multilayer literature of 18 century which was

constructed over the tragic ruins left by the collapse of the antique cosmos in seventeenth
century, began its devastating process in the last decade of eighteenth century, and the man who
has appeared within this circumscribed area tries to cross the restricting boundaries and enter a
new world, which was called the romantic reality. Although the class conflict of aristocracy and
bourgeoise was supposed to have been resolved in earlier periods but on a psychologicalphilosophical scale this conflict still existed in a disguised manner and from time to time it
found the opportunity to express itself within the structure, thematic structures and linguistic
features of literature, constructing its foundation over an absolutely paradoxical poetics. The
antique cosmos of classicism (of course it could be no longer be called antique because it has
only inherited a few principles concerning the concepts of harmony and symmetry from the
earlier period) becomes demolished by anti-cosmic

concept of romantic era in eighteenth

Romantic thought didnt make any attempt to reach the beautiful which was the focal
point of classical period, rather, it strived to reach to the ethereal which is different from the
idea of the beautiful as far as its structural contrast is concerned. The ethereal acts as an antipode
of the beautiful, it takes a few essential elements (such as the quest for the lost cosmos) from the
former, therefore I call it anti-cosmos. On the one hand the ethereal is closed within itself,
recognizing the present time as the only real time (time is defined as a concept which is always
present), on the other hand it tries to come out of this enclosed zone and move toward the
spiritual cosmos (the Christian level of cosmos, which transfers the materialistic-spatial
construction into a spiritual-chronological system preserving its harmonic -musical quality. The
Christian cosmos changes the architectural into musical and creates a unique architectural music
or musical architecture. The abstract , stable , and plastic intellect of Descartes100 stands in sharp
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)- French philosopher and mathematician The founder of the Modern



A Way to Equiliberium

contrast with Diderots concrete, developing and relative thought which was common in
Enlightment period. Nineteenth century Schopenhaurian irrational, destructive will smashes
the Descartian


Enlightment period.

and closed cosmos which became the dominant mentality of

( The Descatrian I think, therefore I am assertion yields to

Schopenhauerian101 irrational assertion I am because I want to).

The consciousness of classicism is directed toward the past, it attempts to return to its
origin, the creation of the world, while eighteen century literature turns its face toward the
future, departs the past, perceives it as history. For classicism, only the past exists, and there is
no history (it seems that time has no history), for Enlightment, the history exists as an experience
and developmental process, but there is no past with its narrative, contemplative and
metaphysical significance acting as a philosophical-psychological value (whatever is out of
history is out of mind either). The irrational consciousness of the apocalypse and its tragic image
create restlessness and anxiety for the man, therefore as a self-defense mechanism man tries to
deflect the course of the history, to change the nature of things, to avoid the inevitability of
death, to create a new reality which is equally real and metaphysical. He creates a reality within
the reality, a surrealistic reality, the measures of which have the same level of exactness as the
geometrical precision.
Romanticism rejects the principles of Enlightment which sees human beings as the product
of nature and society, the offspring of the environment. This environment could be either the
nature as J.JRousseau points out or the society which forms and shapes human personality;
therefore in order to know the individual we must first analyses the environment which has
shaped his personality. Man issurrounded by his environment ; the previous tabula rasa becomes
unrecognizable since the environment imposes certain sign system upon human mind. Thats
why we dont see and plausible and fully developed character in the eighteenth century French
literature, what we see as characters are in fact abstract concepts acting as characters. The
characters of Rousseau (New Heloise) ,Diderots Rameaus Nephew) La Religieuse, Jaques
le fataliste), and Voltaires characters act the same way. We see the same feature, in a much
101Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)- German philosopher . Best known for his book The World as Will
and Representation

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 96

elevated artistic form in the English literature of eighteenth century, although the origin of
English literature is closely linked with Spanish picaresque novel (and before the picaresque
novels, its origins goes back to Boccaccios Decameron as far as the humorous features of
characters and events are concerned), although English literature presents a much broader scope
of relationships and associations, (Swift, Defoe102, Fielding103, Stern104) but again in those
works the characters, are mingled with their setting and do not act independently. All genres of
Enlightment literature are conceptual. The characters acts as thinking masks under which the
social reality functions,

the characters lack individuality, instead the social, official, ultra

personal and sometimes even ultra human factors act effectively in literary works and have a
dominant role in shaping individuals destiny. It seems that this feature is the demand and
necessity of eighteenth century, presenting individual as the outcome of the social reality, the
product of the external relationships.
Genealogically cut off from his origin, feeling all alone and defenseless against the
external forces and merely relying upon himself, the eighteenth century man turns into a faceless
mask, which is the consequence of the dominance of social reality. In this situation, the mask
itself is not important; rather the reality behind it with all its implications gains significance. The
Romantic Movement acts against such anti-individualism. This movement acts not as much
against classicism as the eighteenth century Enlightment movement, against its bare materialism
and fake piety, the narrow and restricted environment, that specific spot which acts as the
intersection of time and space upon which the human I is nailed and from which he attempts
to liberate himself and join to eternity. In Byrons


works (the Pilgrimage of Child Harold,

Cain and Manfred and Oriental poems) this conflict reaches its climax.
Byrons insistence for liberation draws him near to classics (thats why he calls himself a
classist) but instead of seeing the past he strives for something like cosmic time something like
the truth of mythological gods, demonic time that appear in his inspirations as freedom (free
from the injustice of the homeland, from the boundaries of materialistic world, and all the

Henry Fielding- (1707-1754)- English novelist and dramatist known for his rich humor
Daniel Defoe- (1660-1731)- English writer and journalist best known for his novel Robinson Crusoe
Laurence Stern- (1713-1768)- Anglo Irish novelist
George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) English poet and leading figure in Romantic movement


A Way to Equiliberium

restrictions which leads to the collapse of the individuality) F.Hyudeolin takes refuge to the
Greek cosmos and Novalis into the Medieval Christianity, toward darkness (the enlightment of
soul). V.Hugos106 heroes are not bound to their environment, they are able to reconstruct their
environment and in most occasions they face a tragic ending in their attempts for stabilizing the
independence and the freedom of their will. Therefore the outlook of twentieth century
completely turns toward the individual. The individual becomes the basis, the fundamental
substance, the platonic idea and the whole universe appearing as shadow (non-existent), the
inferior reality, which cannot dominate over human soul. Romantic Movement, manifests human
soul with all its inner conversions and consequences. If we take the triple components of human
existence (spirit-body-soul), then we will notice that the seventeenth century classicism basically
relies on human spirit (the basic concepts of the unity of all time and the idea of universal
consciousness), the eighteenth century Enlightment, on the body (the presence of the individual
in the materialistic world stressing the social aspect of his being inhabited in specific time and
place) and the Romantic movement of early ninetieth century on human soul (the concept of the
individualistic I, his personal world, which cannot be settled within the restricted boundaries of
the materialistic world). The human psyche, acts like flames of fire which is striving to reach the
upper realms meanwhile illuminating its environment, searching for the lost Eden and finding it
either in tragic situation or within the lyrical mirages manifested in human soul. During the late
sixteenth century and early seventeenth century the unified and integrated image of the
individual presented in Shakespeare works was suddenly collapsed and divided into its basic
components (that is the soul, body and spirit) each serving as the basis of the three main literary
movements in history: Classicism, Enlightment and Romanticism. Each of

these literary

movements while accepting the integrated and unified nature of the individual focuses on one
aspect of human existence. This movement foregrounds one or the other layer of the human
existence and considers them as the sub models of the original model which is the individual.
These sub models are closely related to each other, each of them to some extent functions as the
sub model of the other sub-model, and they find their expression in art and literature of the mid
nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Victor Hugo(1802-1885) French poet and novelist and dramatist of Romantic age

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 98

IV. Literary Genres of Seventeen to

Nineteen Century

Some people possess a spatial107 individuality, while others are of the sequential



Novalis argues that this difference accounts for the distinction that exists between heroes and
artists. It seems that the heroes are inclined toward being spatial while the artists toward the
sequential. The spiritual world of the artist find the opportunity to develop and become more
profound and polished within a certain time span. However the hero finds the opportunity to
approach the sequential through spaciousness and the artist succeeds to reach the spaciousness
through sequential concept, therefore they meet each other in a third world, where they do not
oppose each other, rather they form an integrated unity. In the basis of the spatial concept lies
the sequential concept and in the basis of the chronological concept lies the spatial concept,
therefore by approaching the one we can meet the other. In spite of this external contradiction,
Novalis himself finds an inner analogy between this two.. He says Time is the inner space and
the space is the outer time. Each body has its own time and each time has its own body. For an
artist the universe manifests itself first of all on a sequential plan, through which he finds the
opportunity to reach its spatial dimension either . Accepting time as a medium for spiritual
development (time as the essential feature of the soul, its setting , where it receives its energy
and mobility) the artist approaches the body and the soul and forms a unity between the two
(the idea of absolute unity of Schelling109). The more unlimited the time, the more endless the
distance (space) would be, the more restricted the space, the more restricted the time would be
however, the contradiction of the body and spirit finds its resolution in the soul. This


Spatial individuality or Spatial intelligence- Deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize things
with minds eye. Howard Gardner in his Theory of Multiple Intelligence mentions that people with spatial
intelligence are more effective in solving problems related to the area of realistic, thing oriented and investigative
Sequential individuality or Sequential intelligence- People who are more active in audio capabilities, like
learning musing, learning language , abstract thinking etc.
Fredrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854)- German idealist philosopher


A Way to Equiliberium

contradiction is the unhappy consciousness110, to use Hegelian terminology, its inner disruption
which finds its resolution merely through finding the truth of the will.
The most important thing is the direction , says Hegel. Following the path and the
direction which the literature of seventieth to nineteenth century has crossed, we may see how
the focus of the literature of the western world has changed from the dominance of the concept
of spirit in classic period to the concept of body in eighteenth century and finally it reaches to
the dominance of the concept of soul in romantic period. This movement is like a journey that
human consciousness has made in a three dimensional world, when the compass needle of his
consciousness stops at this or that point the horizons of a new world is opened up for him. In
romantic era, the human soul finds itself within a narrow boundaries of this world and it attempts
to liberate itself, but this attempt can not be defined as a retreat to history (something that we had
already seen in seventeenth century poetry) rather the movement is directed to ward the future
and eternity, where the limited space turns into eternal time. The changes that have occurred
within the deepest layers of meaning and worldview , later become manifested on the external
level, shaping a new literary form and structure and a new style for artistic expression.
At the first glance we may definitely notice the distinctive borderline that exists between
the literary genres that have appeared in this period, where the integrated image of man
(including his soul, body and spirit) is portrayed from different perspective.
By analyzing the changes that have occurred during this period of three hundred years,
from seventieth to twentieth century, we may notice that the general outlook toward existence
and the individual has constantly

been changed, each period accepting the impact of the

dominant mentality of the age and its reverberation upon the subsequent literary movement (the
changes that occur in the content and structure of the literary from). In seventeenth century art
the focus is upon the spirit, man is located in an impersonal cosmos and the rational obligation of
life serves as a guideline for him, in eighteenth century Enlightment period the individual is

Unhappy consciousness for Hegel is associated with a stage in history of the development of the freedom
of self consciousness . In this externalization of the good from human affairs we see forming what Hegel calls
Unhappy Consciousness. This, Hegel associates with much of early Christian era when people turned away from the
world through ascetic and monastic life and prayer. Of course for Hegel much of these stages is an attainment, the
achievement of the unhappy consciousness is the truth of the will which has been nurtured through ascetic life.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 100

viewed as a social being, he is located in a network of relationships and the origin of his
existence lies in the outer world, within the structure of the society, and finally the romantic
period considers man as the incarnation of the soul , as an individum (the ascending of the I in
the philosophy of Fichte 111in the late eighteenth century German philosophy). Trying to disclose
his inner soul, the romantic artist finds a deep discrepancy between the complex realms of the
spirit and the outer world. From spirit he receives the inner impulses, the emotional experiences ,
the image of beauty which he finds in his dreams (but is absent in his everyday life) and from
the external world

he receives

the tragic understanding

.This understanding is created

whenever man searches for the spirit in the external world and he fails to find it and also while
searching for the spirit he fails to find the reflection of his own concrete existence there. The
two segments of the bisected I are searching for one-another, since the soul itself is broken
up between the two (body and spirit) either. The spirit looks for that part of the soul which is
dissolved within the body, where the spirit itself is absent. In the other part, the soul looks for
the worldly foundations of his own existence within the spirit and he fails to find it , the bisected
I doesnt look for the spirit within the realm of the spirit and the external world within the
realm of the external world. It stands on the junction of the opposing movements of the two
worlds, bearing upon itself certain psychological impact. While withdrawing itself in to the
depths of the soul the I rises in rebellion against both, (Byrons Cain or Manfred ) equally
denying the spirit (in Cain the God) and the external world (the symbol of which is Abel).
Cutting off its connections from the spirit and body (the external world) , the soul remains all
alone and alienated, surviving as a self-soul. Upon the ruins of the shattered human
proportionality the soul moves toward the Lucifer and accepts the luciferian anti-soul impact
upon itself, finding anti-freedom instead of freedom of human soul.
Byrons romanticism is the tragedy of the soul who has lost its ancient cosmos. This tragic
sense is expressed by lyrical elements regardless of its literary genre. That was not Byrons
fault; rather that was his literary mission , through which in the early nineteenth century poetry
the elements and the worldview of the romanticism appear. Regardless of the content of romantic


Johann Gottleib Fichte (1762-1814)- German philosopher. One of the leading figures of German


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literature, the basis of romantic thinking is lyricism , thats why at a certain level the terms
romantic and lyric become synonymous. Even Romantic prose has lyrical tone. In Romantic
prose the language not only narrates but also expresses, and these two actions are performed in
a parallel manner (here the word parallel should be used cautiously, because these two features
are not exactly parallel, rather the expressive feature is interwoven with the structure of the
language acting as a meta language and not its parallel segment ), depicting the individuals
inner emotional reflex, the deeper layers of silence, which finds its expression implicitly within
the language structure, affecting the whole system of the emotional perception of the readers,
creating unique emotional upheavals, activating the inner world of the individual silence or the
inner reality of the self. The discourse while being constructed around its informative center, (the
informative centre is the authors inner self, the hidden principle of his existence, or the inner
reality of his own self) simultaneously relies upon its two axes, the narrative and the expressive
the first having an external essence and the second internal. The former corresponding to epical
principle and the later to the lyrical, moreover the latter encompasses within itself the formers
realm of silence, being in a much closer contact with the informative center of the discourse
itself , while the former acts as a connecting link between the semantic and psychological levels
of language which in turn guarantees the incarnation of the author soul within the literary text.
Regardless of what the romantic poet writes about, in fact he is writing about himself or from the
perspective of his soul. The outer world penetrates so deeply into the poets inner mirages, that it
often becomes unnoticeable .
The spirit acts as the foreground upon which the subjective realities of the soul find the
opportunity to become elaborated. The basic principle joining these three worlds (soul, spirit and
body) to each other is the contrast or opposition, which appears either in three of them (one
against the other) or in the unity of two acting against the third one. (In Baryons,
Lermontov112s and Duryan 113works, the external world appears as the adversary to the soul. In
lamentation poem, the soul and the spirit while overcoming their inner adversary join each other


Lermontov Mikhail- (1814-1841) Russian Romantic writer

Petros Duryan (1851-1871) a famous Western Armenian poet, playwright and actor.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 102

and act against the nature The world has already turned into Gods mockery114. In spite of the
fact that the soul and the spirit by their very nature are intimately connected with each other (the
spirit is linked with the external world, and individuals physical existence , through the soul)
and are standing against the external world, which could be overcome merely with the help of
love (love toward God, toward man and the whole universe, or through pantheism, through
which man can find the lost cosmos).During the Romantic Period the psychological
individualistic principle manifested in lyrical elements acts as a basis for all literary genres. The
epic genres turn into lyrical, the strict prose of eighteenth century turns into poetical, and in other
words the body turns into soul. The epic (specifically the novel) gets involved into the lyrical
realm, the external world associates with the internal, the incidents of the novel are entangled
with the psychological and personal realities (this relationship resembles the relationship
between body and shadow and the later is somehow associated with the Greek conception of the
shadow), the whole composition of the work internally is constructed around mythological
figures (the romantic concepts are closely associated with mythological themes, characters and
ideas). In this way the structural, poetic and semantic constructions of the literary works become
enriched by the metaphorical concepts which lie in the deepest layers of the language, moreover
the connotative implications of the words develop, in this sense the semantic pointer of the word
turns from the external aspect (words literal meaning) into the internal aspect (subjectivepsychological connotations ). The language becomes reconstructed around a lyrical basis, the
language structure becomes an equilibrium of the individuals psychological aspect,
encompassing both the spirit and the body (body here means the associative realm of individual
and the objects which are closely linked with the emotions and actions) which are functioning
on the deepest informative layers, beyond the boundary of silence. This was the concept which
was Novalis focus of attention when he was writing the fragments :
Poetry is in fact the absolute reality. That is the nucleus of my philosophy. The more
poetic, the more real. Here, the concept of poetical completely corresponds to the concept of the
lyrical, therefore the lyricism is the crown of all romantic literary genres, the genre of genres the
ultimate level of literature.

A poem by Petros Duryan


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Novalis the genius of the romantic writers also believes: the body, the soul and the spirit
are the basic elements of the existence as epic, lyric and drama are of poetry. Here the
(individual) poems are used as the whole concept of the poetry, and the second element of the
existence (the soul) corresponds to the second element of the poetry (lyrical), therefore all genres
of romantic literature possess a lyrical element. The same is true about drama, the soul strives for
the lyrical not dramatic, and therefore the drama encompasses the element of lyricism. Drama
wasnt the literary genre of the period and it didnt develop too much. What we have as drama in
Romantic period basically had a lyrical nature, the dramatic action on stage was more expressive
than dramatic . The dramatic action dominantly relied on the emotional expression of the heroes
rather than the external conflicts. (the overflow of emotions, the extended monologues which
sometimes turn into single lyrical extracts, the emotive motivation of the action, the romantic
search for the individual I, even the suicide or self sacrifice of the hero which was the ultimate
stage of self affirmation

was more emotive than dramatic) it seems that Heinrich von

Kleists115 or Victor Hugos dramas cannot be categorized much as dramatic rather than poetical
masterpieces. Their great artistic value lies not it the dramatic structure of their works , rather it
lies in their poetical significance which is the outcome of the romantic spontanty (the quality
which is the unique specification of the poetry). If we compare Romantic Drama with that of
Shakespearean we would see that in Shakespeare tragedies the dramatic structure and the poetic
language (the ideal metaphorical-imaginative thought) are so tightly interwoven with each other
that it seems completely impossible even on a theoric-analytic basis to separate them from each
other. Romantic Drama lacks the unity and integrated nature of Shakespearean drama. In
Romantic Drama, the poetry has an autonomous nature, and it is somehow disjointed from
drama. This should not be considered as a kind of deficiency, rather, this is a sort of typological
merit, the spiritual-cultural outcome of post-Shakespearean era, the necessity of the age. The
process of individuals disintegration which had already began in Shakespearean drama , leads
to seventeenth century Classicism emphasizing upon individuals soul and later to eighteenth
century Enlighment period emphasizing upon the individuals body and the aftermath of this
process is the is the appearance of Romantic literature, which emphasizes human soul. When

Heinrich von Kleist (1777- 1811) German poet , dramatist and novelist .

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 104

the soul becomes the focal point , the boundaries of individuals existence become even more
restricted (this restriction occurs in characterization and the theme ) and the individual immerses
within his soul, within his individual I as a lyrical, psychological being, speaking
metaphorically he acts as a solo violin playing his concerto, here the violin is his individual soul,
the orchestra acts as the spirit and the audience which acts between these two is the external
world for whom the musician (here the symbolic I) plays the music.
If Romanticism is the poetry of the soul, then Classicism as stated earlier has spirit as its
focal point and its center of meaning is the supernatural world of the spirit which because of its
own nature stands in sharp contrast with the individuals world, just like the spirit which acts in
opposition to the soul .However, in spite of this opposition these two are internally connected
with each other, since the spirit is directly linked with the soul. Here, the spirit and the soul,
according to Schellings

idea from an absolute unity and within that absolute unity and

sameness the complex cluster of the relations and associations of Hegel function, where the soul
leaving the spirit attempts to return to the absolute self consciousness (self cognition), again
identifying itself with the spirit. Hegel calls the distance between these two as unhappy
consciousness which appears as the light of wisdom for Hamlet, and Faust perceives it as
cosmic dichotomy and on an individual-psychological level Byron calls it cosmic pain.
Hamlet notices the dichotomy of soul and spirit as the result of which the evil has entered the
world ( including Claudius and the other people around him are involved in the same evil act)
and experiences the tragedy as the only possibility or more specifically as the only entry to the
world of silence. It could be said that Byron is in fact Shakespeares Hamlet which has appeared
under the influence of luciferian forces, a quality which is missing is Hamlet (since his soul is
still connected with the spirit). These forces are dominant in Romantic literature and they have a
determining role for shaping the lyrical sensation of the Romantic poet. The dramatist is not so
much involved with the solitary soul since the soul itself is not dramatic

rather the dramatic

features originate from the spirit, from its lost cosmos. As stated earlier the Romantic lyricism is
dramatic and its drama is lyrical. The Romanticism sets off against classicism, as the soul does to
the spirit (the opposition or contrast occurs in all realms: linguistic, poetical structural,
psychological, sociological, epistemological and etc.) however they are internally linked with


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each other as absolute equivalents. Although the soul is scared of the spirit (Steiner116) because
the latter threatens to absorb the former (as the whole does to the particular) but in a much deeper
level the soul strives to reach the spirit. Here the love substitutes the fear. Tragedy in this sense
on the one hand shows the downfall of the hero in this world, and on the other hand the
resurrection of the soul, on the one hand the fear and on the other hand the love which are the
two balanced poles relying on the individuals existence in this world. Whenever the spirit is
absent the tragedy is absent either, the frequency of the later depends on the frequency of the
former, therefore wherever the tragedy , we should look for the spirit which is the origin of the
Seventeenth century tragedy is the tragedy of the soul, it demonstrates the first stage of the
disintegration of individuals three folded existence in post Shakespearean era consequently the
spirit upon the demolition of the inner symmetry of human existence demands its independence
from other two (soul and body) which are considered as more inferior beings. The noblest genre
of classical literature is tragedy, since the idea of demolition and disintegration connotes a
tragic sense, therefore the incarnation of classical soul can best be manifested in tragedy, the
other genres are not so capable of demonstrating this quality. In classical literature comedy
occupies an interesting position. Although the genre specifications of comedy stands in sharp
contrast with tragedy, nonetheless it bears too much upon tragedy. For example the three
comedies of Moliere (Don Juan, Tartuffe and the Misanthrope are quite different from
Shakespearean lively and cheerful comedies. The heavy and gloomy shadow of tragedy rests
upon these comedies. (By no means, Don Juan can be categorized as a purely comic character,
although he acts in comic circumstances, or Tartuffe who stands in sharp contrast with Orgons
nave and foolish minded comic character, or the Misanthrope whose comic features are
extremely limited). The genre specifications of classical comedy is not absolute and inflexible ;
in fact the shadow of tragedy is spending over the comedy of this period, since all genres to some
extent are linked with the spirit. The main reason of the dominance of the genre of tragedy on
seventeenth century literature is the fact that the poetry of this period is primarily oriented


Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)- Austrian philosopher, social reformer architect and esotericist.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 106

toward the realm of spirit and it acts as a unifying element, joining the personal and public
features together. The personal features are valid as far as they correspond to public ones.
Each individual identifies himself as a single unit of the system, not more than that, his
individuality is verified within the framework of the system. Apart from the system he looses his
individuality looses his identity and turns into a zero-identity , an I within the Not I. The
active part of the conflict is the Not I which imposes his will upon the I and turns into the
will of I. The hero acts and makes decisions, but the initial motive of his acts lies in spirit. The
spirit acts as the origin of all forces and impulses and all those things which has a determining
role for the spirit itself. The spirit itself acts as a transmitter of the collective consciousness; it is
able to establish a dialogue with its environment. In a play, the dialogue is the means through
with the spirit asserts its presence, which reveals its dramatic and psychological conditions, its
thoughts and judgments. The play is constructed upon the dialogue. The monologues in
Hamletian style, through which the secret code of the hero is unfolded, are rare in drama of
classical period while through the dialogues this secret code remains invisible. While uttering
his monologues, Hamlet presents a dimension of his character which is quite dissimilar from the
time when he gets involved in a dialogue with one of the characters of the play. (according to
Baktins theory, a dialogue occurs between two equal subjects). The external world stands in
sharp contrast with Hamlet, and it doesnt give him the chance to enter a dialogue, in classical
tragedy the opposite process occurs. It doesnt give the hero the chance to is turn his face toward
the public (here, the soul) any to utter any monologue, therefore through the dialogue the inner
motivating force of his individuality is reveled. The basis of the tragedy is the presence of an
irresolvable conflict and the absence of individual fault. The hero faces a downfall without
committing any faulty acts. The fault (or flaw) comes from the outside and the only way of
correcting this fault is the occurrence of tragic act.
It seems that the tragic hero sacrifices himself to the superhuman forces that impose their
own will upon him without giving him any possibility for solving the conflict . Metaphorically
speaking, the soul dies within the spirit to restore the balance of the spiritual cosmos, the whole
elements of which are intricately connected with each other as an ideal structure and the slightest


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digression from the main direction will create a shift and deviation in other sections leading to
the creation of the ultimate anti-movement, the ransom of which is the victory of the faulty act.
As mentioned earlier, the faulty act (flaw) comes from the outer world for the hero, that is
the preference of the individual I toward the spirit creates an imbalance in the spiritual cosmos
(as we know, the axis of the cosmos is the equilibrium, which consequently creates
proportionality, harmony and unity). In its overall construction the classical tragedy is closely
associated with antique tragedy and more specifically with Sophocles (Euripides works is
specifically associated with Romantic literature which in its emotive-psychological
expressiveness assimilates Euripides tragedy of passions). In the tragedies of Sophocles
(especially in his Oedipus the king and Antigone) the model of tragedy reaches its ultimate level
of perfection, an absolute structure. In his book The phenomenology of the Mind Hegel
presents an analysis of Antigone. In this book, Hegel argues that basis of tragedy is conflict that
that occurs between the two equal ethical systems which leads to the satisfaction of spirit arising
from the reconciliation . According to Hegel the conflict is not between good and evil but
between goods that are each making too exclusive a claim .
Classical tragedy is far from Sophocles impartial, passionless and objective approach to
human existence , his cold grandeur, according to which the individual appears as the medium
of the tragedy, in a setting where the fatal forces meet and the tragedy is formed as the result of
the clash that occurs between the cosmos and the individual (here the tragic hero) who is ready
to accept it. In other words, in antique tragedy the destiny is manifested in the individual while in
seventeenth century tragedy the individual is manifested in the destiny. In the former, the origin
and the ultimate purpose of tragedy is the spirit, while in the later it is the soul, although the two
present the same concept (spirit=soul) but the direction of the movement is different. In the
former, it starts from the spirit and then dissolves in the soul; in the later the soul itself arrives at
the spirit as a conscious step and the self sacrifices itself for the supreme powers. Creons soul
at the end of the tragedy becomes a companion of the spirit, while Antigones soul outgrows and
turns into spirit. This mutual interpenetration between the soul and spirit , the inner
transfiguration which occurs between the two

is the ultimate metaphysical purpose of

Sophocles drama, his center of meaning. In P.Corneilles poems the soul recognizes within itself

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 108

the existence of the spirit, finds the basis of his own existence and approaches it, through
negating his own personal I and accepting the supreme I. Its final purpose is reaching the
spirit . The soul opens up itself to the spirit and as we see the only way that the soul has the
possibility to express itself is through tragedy. The smallest deficiency that occurs in the soul
(selfishness , jealousy, offence etc) might lead to cosmic disturbance, to the malfunctioning of
the vital activity of the supreme system.
As stated earlier, the malfunctioning of one unit of the system, leads to the collapse of the
whole system , the only way of overcoming this difficulty is tragedy, functioning either as a
genre or as a basic principle. Unlike Sophocles, the basis of Racines or Corneilles tragedies,
is the flaw, the personal guilt, the subjective tendency of the psyche. The hero challenges
with this flaw and at the end he either overcomes it (in Corneilles play) or he is defeated and
faces death, considering his downfall as a conscious act (Racine). At this stage the tragic hero
portrays the impossibility of love, since in practice we see that by ignoring the spirit, the soul
cannot love another soul, their love becomes possible when its fundamental basis i.e. the spirit is
present . Without the presence of the spirit the love that the soul is searching for will turn into
selfishness and consequently to the disturbance of the cosmic rhythm and it will be doomed to
fail. In Corneilles play the spirit is the same as the political-social consciousness, in Racines
the spirit functions as the moral-psychological system. The suffering of the soul which has the
consciousness of the spirit but is separated from the spirit and strives to form a unity with it is the
foundation upon which the basis of the classical tragedy lies. This idea is not expressed in the
chain of actions, rather in one single act which is the result of the heros own choice, the
consequence of his self-orientation (for example Racines Brnice): Even one single act of the
hero is enough to show the conflict of soul and spirit (for example Titus decision to leave his
beloved woman for respecting the idea of Romans who dont accept his marriage with a Jewish
woman). The lyric principle (the soul) follows the dramatic principle (the spirit); while in
Romanticism the dramatic principle follows the lyric. Their opposition is the basic conflict
between the two worlds (the soul and the spirit). This conflict on a cosmic level appears as a
harmonious act and on the worldly level as discrepancy.


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In the Post-Shakespearean literature, along with the gradual disintegration of the

individual, each of the three components of the individual , that is the soul, spirit and body,
became the foundation of the newly appeared literary movements (while including the other two
within themselves ). The literary movement that is based upon the spirit is Classicism, the
second, relying upon the soul is the Romanticism, and the third relying upon the body is the
Enlightment. Each literary movement has its corresponding literary genre. In Classicism it is
drama, in Romanticism, lyric poetry and in Enlightment,

epic literature. Spirit is not a

readymade entity, it is constructed gradually and continuously, immobility is a quality contrary

to its essence, therefore dynamism is its dominant feature . (The Cunning nature of spirit lies in
its representation through oppositions Hegel). The soul , by its very nature is lyrical, which is
neither demonstrated nor narrated, rather it is expressed. (Like for example weeping, happiness
pain and etc). But the individual in the external world, while establishing social relations with
other people strives for narration and description of his situation (this concept is quite different
from what Lessing criticizes as description and interpretation, which he believes is the worst
enemy of the poetry, a concept which has been imposed upon literature by fine arts. Here the
description means the mobility of the essence and idea manifested on the external level of
language) therefore human body basically has an epical nature thats why, the novel as the
dominant form of epic genre appears after Renaissance when the individual becomes completely
involved in the web of social relations and consequently the novel reaches its higher level of
development in the eighteenth century in England, which was the society of the dominance of
bourgeois class. (In France still the influence of Classicism was dominant therefore the
development of the genre of novel in France was postponed to twentieth century which was
called the Golden Age of French Novel. In Germany, the novel did not ever become as dominant
as the poetry. Beginning with Goethe, F. Schelling and Hoffman and the other remarkable
writers of Romantic period the novel had always been constructed upon the lyrical basis of the
philosophy or the illustration of the theoritical aspect of the philosophy). The European man who
has opened up the external world for himself and for whom the present time has revealed all his
dimensions, now is trying to measure the span of this world, to reveal the secrets of the social
reality and his environment, to throw himself into the whirlpool of the incidents, to touch,
recognize and study the limits of his body and soul, to weep or to feel joyous from experiencing

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 110

the real life, to reestablish himself, to create his own cosmos that although it differs from others,
but it belongs to him and he doesnt wish to yield it to anybody else. Upon this extensive and
colorful canvas of existence, the tragedy loses its primary significance (the tragedies of Schiller
written at the end of eighteenth century were actually the manifestation of his philosophical
world view, where the philosophy does not appear as the outcome of the poetry but rather this is
the poetry which comes out of philosophy. In this period, drama substitutes tragedy (with the
attempts of Diderot in France and Lessing in Germany), the focus of which is upon the
Common man acting in the real world rather than the noble man who acts beyond the
everyday life, and the comedy turns into the comedy of manners. The oblivion of the spirit of
eighteenth century leads to the withdrawal of the soul in literature. No dominant works of
poetry appear in the literature of eighteenth century France, the same is true about English
literature and to some extent about German literature and the literature of the whole Europe.
Lyricism was not the outcome of the materialistic world view of eighteenth century. The shadow
of the decadent man appears so densely upon his total image that the dim lights of his soul and
spirit become completely obscured (in other words the shadow of man conceals God).
French materialism turns religion into mythology, the theology into moral philosophy,
and the philosophy into chemistry, biology and the science thrives to get rid of non-scientific
aspects providing the preliminary conditions for the appearance of nineteenth century positivism.
The external problems of man in everyday life become more important than his inner problems.
Thought and action become alien to each other, the thought is no more the action, and the action
is not the same as the thought itself. The man of thought is no longer the man of action; in
fact the individual has lost the immediate connection between soul and spirit. It seems that
Goethes statement The action is the beginning of everything (Faust) is not fully understood.
Here, the action encompasses the mentality of Logos with all its applications upon creative and
cognitive activities. The double understanding of the word action (thought and operation) runs
through the structure of novel since eighteenth century. These phenomena manifest the fact that a
huge irreversible process is taking place. The whole existence of man is collapsed into two parts.
One part of his existence ascends to the foreground (here, it is the physical aspect of his
existence along with his external relations) which induces great impulses to the epic genre


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ultimately leading to the formation of the genre of Novel. In other words, the energies of the soul
and spirit are sparkling within the depths of the novel which acts as the body for the context.
Occasionally, on a surface level, these sparkling energies are falsely interpreted as instincts and
other physiological phenomenon,. The categorization of literary genres and movements and their
development during historical periods are deeply connected with the


anthropological and psychological debates of each age .

It seems such specific technical discussions including the processes of the development
of literary genres, the rise and fall and evolution of each literary period and their general
dynamism have mere literary nature and are mainly concerned with poetical issues, while
apparently we see that they are mainly concerned with other forces and currents that are
invisible to objective cognitive capabilities, lying behind the mask of spirit internally
controlling the processes of mind, time and history. In fact these forces are connected with the
inner realms of the individual which are related to non equilibrated movement of individuals
three dimensional world, and they possess no synchronous phenomenology where one of these
dimensions (spirit-body-soul) appear in the foreground and the other two remain in the shadow
of the former, until these three become completely separated from each other. This is a process
which appears in twentieth century art, when the integrity of the individual becomes completely
After Shakespeare, the whole dramaturgy of the western world experienced an ultimate
synthesis of literary genres. In seventeenth century classical poetics, the tragedy (the drama of
spirit) becomes dominant, in eighteenth century Enlightment literature the prose and more
specifically the novel. In the early nineteenth century the principal genre was lyricism (the
principle of soul). In Romantic period the soul and spirit act against the body in a unified manner
and thats why in the mid nineteenth century the unified structure of the individual became
disintegrated , the inner layers of his existence diverge from one other while acting against
each other. In this stage, symbolism and naturalism appear: the former as a musical-illusionary
experience deprived of the body and the later as a scientific-physiological observation missing
the soul, trying to find the essence and the mystery of individual by focusing upon his cellular
basis. The more the individual becomes immersed in the cells the more he becomes alien to the

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 112

mystery. (The novel turns in to an experiment, to use Zolas words). Romanticism dies by the
hands of his two adopted children, the symbolism and the naturalism. The former chokes him by
deprivation of soul. In symbolism the language enters the musical realm of the silence,
appears within the non materialistic domain of the words, loses its identity and its main
function which is to communicate. It thrives to make a retrospective movement and return to
its origin, that is to the world of ideas, then it transforms these ideas with the help of the
energy which it has acquired from the musical realm of the silence producing the free verse
as the dominant form of versification in the early twentieth century functioning against the antilanguage language of symbolism. In the mid nineteenth century, after the downfall of the
Romantic movement and the widespread attitude of Skepticism along with the formation of new
positivist philosophy and the appearance of certain literary and artistic theories, the individual
appears as a psychologically disintegrated entity, searching for a new way of governing the
world, a new novel, which will be capable of creating a huge turning point in the artistic and
literary evolution of the western world by its new structure, new specifications of its genre and
its ethical-psychological perspective.
This was what Dostoyevsky did, in the worlds most disorganized country, in Russia,
where the individual had the most unprotected status. Russia was the most vulnerable and the
most tragic upholder of Christian faith among other countries.


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V. The three levels of the Disintegration

Of the individual in the literature of
The second half of nineteenth and twentieth century

After the appearance of the individuals perfect image in Shakespeares works and at the
same time his annihilation in the social world along with the emergence of the three important
literary movement following Shakespeares works (Classicism: the man of the spirit,
Enlightment: the social man and the Romanticism the soul man), the downfall and disintegration
of the individual passes through three stages: 1- The disintegration of the individual on
psychological level (Dostoyevsky) 2- The disintegration of man on the level of existence (Kafka)
3- The disintegration of man on the level of consciousness (Beckett). In order to make this idea
more apprehensible I have attempted to illustrate it in a diagram, of course this illustration is
highly arbitrary, only focusing upon a sort of religious-philosophical approach toward literature.
In a more specific terms it focuses upon the understanding of man of the unity and equilibrium of
the Christ figure (combination of its earthy and spiritual dimensions) in Christian culture,
specifically upon the system of significance of literature, its metrical and stylistic development
and transformations from one to the other, its historical and metaphysical dynamism (basically
the historical and the metaphysical aspects stand in sharp contrast, but here this contrast and
opposition act as the basis and the essence of this dynamism, without which this organism can no
longer exist).

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 114

The psychological disintegration of

The individual: Dostoyevsky

In F. Dostoyevskys works, the individual is basically presented as an extremely

introverted psychological being in his utmost level of mental tension. He attempts hard to get rid
of those tensions and the conflicting inner forces, moreover he does his best to save himself
from that condition yet he continuously remains under the threat of mental collapse


psychological breakdown . It seems that he is standing on a borderline conjuncture, on the

friction point of different self-denying forcing, on the verge of the impenetrable abyss of the
existence, each moment experiencing the threat of the downfall and ultimately he himself
chooses the path which leads to his downfall and then he hopelessly struggles to overcome it but
ultimately he collapses, the life becomes meaningless for him and appears in the depths of the
abyss. He struggles to reach the salvation, he attempts to understand the significance and the
inner mystery of life, but all that remains for him is the downfall, suffering and tragedy.
Therefore, Dostoyevsky could be considered as the initiator of one of the most important
intellectual movements of 20th century, i.e. existentialism, upon which he not only establishes
the structural foundation of his novel (specially his Brothers Karamazov novel which offers a
completely new viewpoint and structure in the development of novel, opening up a new universe
in the realm of narrative genre, with its specific conversions and a specifications) but also offers
a new epistemological approach for understanding the individual and creating a fresh outlook for
his characterization in the novel. In the realm of literary criticism, Dostoyevsky has the
significance of offering a new outlook in the form of the novel, while the concept of the new
form is related with the concept of the new universe which he has introduced in literature and
no dividing line could exist between these two. By new universe, we mean the new
psychological reality which Dostoyevsky had unveiled within human soul, it is the individuals
heart which is struggling against the opposing forces (here the Satan struggles against God).
His heroes, without any exception are attempting to assert themselves, to find their position and
their purpose in this life, they are attempting to reach the climax of spirit and again fall down,


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each time hoping, suffering and collapsing again. All these, occur on a sociological plan, yet that
is only what we see on stage, the main reality occurs beyond that stage, behind the closed
doors of the psychological domain, the main cause of the tragedy is not the sociological injustice,
rather the psychological imbalance and injustice which leads to sociological injustice, the main
cause of his deviation, his mental breakdown , is the individuals false appreciation of the
universe. Therefore, Dostoyevsky is searching the main causes of individuals psychological
collapse which leads to the sociological breakdown. Therefore the two aspects of human
existence (the psychological and the sociological) have mutual interaction upon each other,
leading one another to downfall, which ultimately leads to the inner breakdown of the soul. (The
main reason of which is the imperfect relationship that has been established between the
individual and God and the individuals faulty and one dimensional perception of God). The
inner darkness of human soul, his egoism, his self-oriented disposition, his unjustified aggressive
and beasty nature is the consequence of Gods negation and oblivion, the negligence of the
supernatural and heavenly forces of nature and the over estimation of earthy life. If there is no
God, then everything is permitted. But the God exists, says Dostoyevsky and the tragic point is
this that God exists but the individual has faded it into his oblivion. The existence of God and the
individuals oblivion about it creates a tragic situation. The heavy burden of this oblivion
descends upon individuals soul and demolishes his existence. Yet the presence of tragedy is a
sign of Gods existence. If there were no God, there wouldnt be any tragedy, since tragedy is
directly related with consciousness. The tragedy begins whenever the concept of original sin
collides the human consciousness (here consciousness is used in a broad sense; it may include
the sub consciousness either). This collision occurs for all humans, regardless of their origin, sex,
social class and personality traits. The individual is not capable of struggling all alone, he needs
help and God offers his help, yet the individual should crave for help. The Gods help is his love,
the absence of which leads to human misery. As father Zosima states in his diary: what is hell, I
often wonder, hell is the absence of love. Love offers us the sole path which leads to the
recognition of God, the ultimate level of perception, the deprivation of which will lead to the
emergence of tragedy (the weaker the love, the stronger the tragedy of life becomes).

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 116

Dostoyevsky shows us that the more obscure the image of Christ in our soul becomes,
the possibility of experiencing the psychological breakdown increases . This is a fact which is
applicable not only for each individual person, but also for the entire human race. For each
individual who is entangled in the abyss of the original sin and has lost his spiritual support, his
inner fulcrum , the only immutable force, upon which his inner equilibrium rests. For an
individual who is striving for perfection the deep rooted notion of original sin creates lots of
contradictions in his soul which may lead to horrible psychological integrity. Is it possible for an
individual to reach the heavenly glory when all the people around him are deeply buried in the
ocean of the original sin? Evading mankind, avoiding the harsh realities of life, leading a solitary
life at home or in church, refraining from the external relations of the outer world, to enclose
oneself within the deceptive holiness of personal illusions and to deprive oneself from the
rational appreciation of life are not possible. In Brothers Karamazov Father Zosima (who is
not that much a character but a concept, the inner recitative of the novel) advices Alyosha to
enter the world, pass through the hell of existence, to experience the whole horror and sagacity of
human life barehanded, to approach the doors of the reality and thereafter make his decision. The
psychological sufferings of Man is the emblem of his existence, the evidence of his life, the only
possibility that God has offered to Man. To avoid it, may mean to evade the only possibility of
existence to refrain from the cup that God has offered to mankind that he is obliged to drink, to
retreat life and to accept Gods slap and cling to the falsity of reality. The whirlpool of the inner
and outer incidents of life lead Dostoyevskys hero to the same direction. Following different
courses they reach to the same destiny. Entering life, all heroes collapse while facing the evil
aspects of life. Prince Mishkin in the novel The Idiot, enters the real life, establishes
communication with the so called healthy people (here the two concepts of health and
sickness have metaphorical significance and shouldnt be considered in a literal sense
otherwise they may have opposite meaning) plunges in to the life of healthy people and when his
doctor finds him next to the corpse of Nastassya Filippovnas, after examining him, shakes his
head and says he is an idiot. Raskolnikov either enters the real life, follows the laws of life
while the laws of life and the laws of the soul do not necessarily correspond to reach other
(rather, they contradict each other). He is defeated by his own soul, by his own inner laws, this is
Raskolnikov and he cannot act in another way. While living among healthy people, Nastassya


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Filippovna experiences a revival of soul when she meets the sick prince. This relationship
follows its paradoxical course of the destiny and consequently leads to the tragic downfall of
Nastassya Filippovna. Because of social injustice, Sonya Marmeladov and Grushinka have
dropped into the lowest level of existence while Raskolnikovs and Dimitri Karamazovs
banishment ascends their soul and leads to their salvation. The Poor People like Varvarah and
Makar Devooshkin are suffering from the social injustice, yet the core of their tragic situation
does not lie in the social injustice rather it lies within their soul, the beauty of their soul do not
correspond to the outer world, the tragedy lies in their non-equivalence. The protagonist of the
novella The Double, Golyadkin experiences a harsh defeat in life and the novella itself could
be considered as one of the early examples of absurd literature. The psychological disintegration
of the individual and his banishment from the world is best portrayed in Notes from the
Underground novella. (One of the Central themes and aesthetic notions of the world of
literature which undoubtfully begins with Dostoyevsky). The social injustice is a reflection of the
individuals deficiency of soul, the distorted image of mankind after the original sin. Therefore
Dostoyevsky does not focus upon the disintegrated image of the individual on a sociological
level (it has already been portrayed in Shakespeares works, where the individual experiences a
downfall on a sociological plane while his psychological integrity is preserved) rather he
concentrated upon the psychological downfall of the individual, his withdrawal, his
disintegration and his disappearance on psychological level. The social world is a reflection of
the individuals psychological world, his external alter ego, standing on the opposite direction
(like the image of the individual in mirror) which receives its shadow identity from the man, and
it imposes its false identity upon the individual making him a dependent entity like the evil
creature of Frankenstein upon whom the Frankenstein has no control. The man suffers from the
horrible mechanisms that he himself has created, he harvests what he has planted and he is
unable to liberate himself from the abyss which he himself has created , because the individual
himself gives power to it and develops its mechanism that is the individual annihilates himself.
In Dostoyevskys works, Shakespearean tragedy transfers into another level, the sociological
turns into psychological. The individuals become collapsed as psychological entities, who bear
the failure within themselves. They are defeated in life, yet by relying upon the inner lantern of
their soul vindicate their existence. Most often, the protagonists themselves accept their defeat

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 118

consciously, since failure in the outer world is synonymous to triumph in the inner world. For the
inhabitants of the inner world, that is not a defeat, the hero himself strives for failure, as
Raskolnikov does, therefore the crime transfigurates, recodifies, gains a new meaning and
signification and turns into a mystical action (as Hamlets life and death) It forces the hero to
encounter new realities, which was disguised and hidden till that time , a decisive act was
required to unveil the reality. The sick heroes of Dostoyevsky appear in this way while
encountering the false realities of life (like the fantastic Don Quixote or the crazy Hamlet). The
protagonist of White nights, the Dreamer, whose mental disorder might be diagnoized by
modern psychoanalysts as a case of extreme schizophrenia, or other psychological disorders as
depression, is in fact dwelling in another universe and is capable of perceiving much profound
realities than other people. Two minute blissfulness for the entire life? Isnt it enough? he
writes for his beloved Nastenka. Are there any people who could claim that they have
experienced those two minutes of extreme blissfulness as the dreamer has? The dreamers
measure for happiness does not correspond to the measures of the present life. Ultra reality is the
main concern of Dostayevski The individual is so broad, it should be narrowed down: says
Dostoyevsky. The individuals image has been dispensed in the entire universe, it should be
focused within its limits and should be guided toward the inner light which lies deep in the
individuals soul and there, he would be able to see the presence of God, the Christ-God whose
negligence has led to the disintegration and downfall of the individual, experiencing the most
awful and complex psychological disorders, being unable to find the thing that has been offered
to him (by God) and clinging to those things that have been imposed upon him.
Of course during the history of literature many cases of psychological analysis have
appeared in different literary works such as in the novels of Balzac, Hugo, Stendhal and the
novelists of eighteenth century specifically in Richardsons novels such as Pamela and
Clarissa, in the works of the German Romantic writers such as Schlegels works and in F.
Goethes The Sorrows of young Werther. The psychological analysis of the characters is only
one part of the process of artistic creation, which contributes to the plausible and authentic
presentation of characters. Psychological analysis of the character is not the ultimate purpose of
the literary work, rather it is one of the important imaginative stages of creating literary work, a


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kind of inner backgrounds in the literary work, the element which creates a movement and a
humanistic/individualistic warmth in the literary work creating a more tangible and substantial
emotional experience for the readers. For Dostoyevsky, psychological analysis of the characters
is the central issue of his novels, with which his novels begin and end. In his novels, the human
soul breaks up, like an atom which is split apart in a laboratory, revealing its inner universe, its
micro-universe which is the reflection of the Universe in human soul. In Crime and
Punishment Raskolnikovs act (murdering the old women) is not the central theme of the novel,
rather, it is a key to open up his inner world and to reveal its essence. After Dostoyevsky, (when
his works were translated into European languages) it became impossible for the authors to write
due to norms and standards of the earlier generation. In cruder terms, we could claim that
Dostoyevsky wrote the quantum novel, while Shakespeare was more concerned with
Newtonian drama (these two terms must be used in a highly metaphorical sense).
Dostoyevskys writing style was a huge innovation in the literature of the world.
The psychological domain of human existence just like the universe (cosmos) itself
possesses a structure and if the universe is constructed upon accurate mathematical and
architectural calculations which lead to a unified creation possessing a definite plot and purpose
as its fundamental basis (the ultimate purpose and intention of the world creation have been
concealed once and for all from the cognition of mankind as an irresolvable mystery) the same
principle applies to the psychological construction and inner architectonic of human beings.
All those incidents that occur in the non-subjective world (cosmos) occur in subjective
world either, where the opposing forces, such as love and hatred function. This idea is traceable
in the philosophy of Empedocles, the Greek philosopher, and the Zoroastrainian Ahura-Mazda
and Ahriman which connote the ideas of the Above and The Below above all things, the
Medieval God and Satan, the opposition of Heaven and Hell. On the one side we have the non
materialistic nature of Heaven and the Light and on the other hand the crude materiality of Hell
and the Darkness and above all of them the enlighted eternity of Emperia. The psychological
architectonic of the individual is the personalized architectonics of the Cosmos, its inner image
which is held in parenthesis, the other aspect of which is called social construction. The one is
being reflected in the other, and continues its existence within the existence of the other, it

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 120

transfigurates and becomes unrecognizable. Considering the individual as a complete Cosmos,

Dostoyevsky believes that the psychological cosmos of the individual is violated, disturbed and
cracked due to the interference of destructive forces, it is subject to the transfigurative currents of
the universe, where the above and the below, the beautiful and the ugly. The real and
the fake could change their positions, appear in different forms and acquire different
configurations (just like the Satan who appears to Ivan Karamazov and tries to convince him that
he has a real existence, and he can live like a real man, he can limp and feel pain). The human
soul in the mid nineteenth century appears as a devastating, smashing and anti-architectural
structure. The individual closes the door and the window of his soul, becomes alien and
frightened toward the outer world and the society which turn into hostile entities for him. He
turns inward, moves to the inner levels of his existence and hides all the external signs of his
existence, in other words he plunges in to the ruins of his psychological cosmos. In Shakespears
works, the individual demolishes on a sociological level yet he preserves his psychological
integrity (Hamlet, Othello), in Dostoyevskys works this demolition occurs on psychological
level (psychological cosmos) and the process of the withdrawal of the individual continues. Due
to the Renaissance perception of Christ as Man, the shadow of Christ figure as a Man conceals
the image of Christ as God and the more the individual searches for his identity the more he loses
it because of the violation that has occurred in the equilibrium of Christ figure as God and as


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Focusing upon the two dominant features of Renaissance culture and more specifically
Renaissance literature, that is the concepts of the ascending and the descending, the
interrelationship that exists between God and the Universe, it seems inevitable to emphasize
upon the nature of the basic principal of this period, since they seem to have a deep impact upon
the formation of the western theological, philosophical and literary-aesthetic mentality.
a)Dante-Ptolemaeusian Cosmos- Limited world (human world) unlimited emperia
(heavenly world). The transition of man from the limited (Antique Cosmos) to the unlimited
world (the time of resurrection and salvation)
b)Shakespeare-Copernican Cosmos- The infinity of the materialistic universe portrayed
as the sign system of spiritual infinity. Man in the universe (Hamletian situation).
c)Dostoyevsky-the universe inside the Man- The soul functioning as the universe. The
psychological dimension functioning as a domain for inserting the mutual impact of the
Copernican and Ptolemaeusian unequal forces. The tragedy appearing as a form of freedom, as
the consequence of the inevitable clash which occurs between the individual and the heaven (the
attempt of the individual for gaining independence at the cost of negating God and reaching to
the stage of psychological collapse)
a) In Dantes Divine Comedy the Hell is a materialistic world which has been banished
from the rhythm of time and the possibility of development. It is a concealed dead chaos; from
which nothing originates in contrast with the initial chaos from which cosmos was generated.
Darkness, gloom and deprivation from Cosmos (the sign of which is Light and the presence of
sun) are the signs of chaos. The sun is the physical manifestation of the spiritual sun, the beams
of which touch the physical world and create the shadow. The Sun which was glittering behind
me/ Leaning against my opaque body/Extended my shadow before me. (Purgatory Dante)
Shadow is the sign of substantial entity and so are the beams of light. Therefore the
substantial world is called The world of shadows (Plato). The shadow is not present in the
darkness of Hell, the fires of Hell do not produce shadows. No shadow could be formed from the

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 122

contact of dark souls and lifeless fire. In Purgatory the sun touches the non-transparent body
of Dante and produces shadow which astonishes the souls of the Purgatory. In Paradiso the
light glitters not from one side, but from all sides, consequently, once again, no shadow could be
formed. (The opposite of hell). The more Dante ascends the spheres of the Paradise, the more the
space is defeated (the first hypostasis of the substantial world), till he reaches to Emperia which
is higher than the Paradise.
In the focal point of the unlimited infinity the image of Man is opened up for Dante (I saw
in its depth the image of Man- Paradiso Canto XXXIII). The greatest mystery is this: How come
that the frame and its image are blended (the infinity and the image, the frame which apparently
contradict each other). Emperia begins here, where the time and space end. Here, the word begin
has a metaphorical sense. We cannot ask how does God begin? This could be asked only in a
metaphorical sense; therefore the answer would be metaphorical either.
In 15-16 century the individual left the closed universe and entered the open universe.
Copernicus cut the boundaries of the close universe and the individual appeared in infinity,
within the open universe. Shakespeares Hamlet is the man of open universe, who sees the
inhabitants of the closed universe standing very close to Hell; their faces are burning with the
reflection of the blazing flames of the inferior world, they cause death and stagnation among
people. They manifest themselves within human souls as sins, transgressions, instinctual desires
and tendencies selfishness, greed, aspiration to power (like the allegorical beasts of Dante)
dimming the natural light within the human soul, falsifying the words, misinterpreting the
concepts, urging people to do meaningless and aimless actions. Ultimately, all these actions are
connected with the cruel and inhuman political mechanisms, which gradually become more
complicated constantly suppressing peoples will and freedom, merely enslaving them and
turning them into impersonalized masks. Hegel in his book The philosophy of history says:
Napoleon during a friendly discussion with Goethe says that during the recent times the nature
of tragedy has fundamentally changed, since what we know as destiny which causes the
downfall of the individual no longer exists, and the function of the so called old destiny has
been transferred to politics: a set of obligatory circumstances which are impossible to overcome,
therefore the individual is forced to surrender to these circumstances. This political mechanism


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in the twentieth century gains such a monstrous power and it becomes able to exert the maximum
amount of pressure upon the individual. In this situation the man stops being tragic (in the
classical sense of the word when man is functioning as a struggling and meditative being),
depriving life from its meaning and purpose, and hurling him into the abyss of absurdity and
meaninglessness, trying to annihilate the power of thinking and the ability of struggling within
his soul.
Plunging into the deepest layers of the widespread tragic situation, even the literature
looses its significance and all its possibilities become exhausted. Under the light of the
spirituality, none of the individuals acts gain significance and seem purposeful, since the inner
motif of all those acts are darkness and ignorance. Hamlet is able to see the evil acts of other
people while standing close to Hell. Discretion is the capability of seeing the true nature and
value of deeds, therefore the deeds are initially been judged by reason in order not to produce the
reverse result. (From this point Hamlets indecisiveness begins). Dantes Emperia is manifested
in Hamlets silence, that is a sign of inner universe About those things which are impossible to
talk about we should remain silent.( L. Wittgenstein).
In Dostoyevskys works the universe is portrayed within human soul, he turns his
telescope inward. The word psychology has the associations of movement, relation, dynamism
in itself, in other words it connotes the idea of soul within its vital process. The defeated
individual of Shakespearean tragedies now appears in the psychological universe of
Dostoyevsky. He struggles with the evil forces that are surrounding him (and also are located
within his soul), he is attempting to stabilize his own norms and values (regardless of their
ethical-psychological merit) and ultimately he becomes defeated by those forces which appear in
their uttermost variety, wearing numerous masks and having different shapes. In Crime and
Punishment Raskolnikov commits an act (kills the old pawnbroker who was accumulating
money, whose existence due to Raskolnikovs idea was completely superfluous) and then falls
into a complex psychological tension which ultimately cause his downfall.
The most mysterious character of the novel is perhaps Svidrigailova (a morally suspicious
character from whom all his friends are avoiding) after achieving his goal, which is the physical
possession of Dounia, when Dounia was compelled to submit her body to him; he unexpectedly

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 124

returned the keys to her and during a damp and foggy St Petersburgian morning and then
committed suicide. (The final act elucidates another dimension of his complex and multilayered
character which is the distinctive feature of Dostoyevskys characters). Prince Myshkin in
Idiot before entering the Moscowian community used to suffer from epileptic attacks
(Dostoyevsky himself was suffering from the same ailment either). Each time during the
intervals of epileptic attacks he experienced heavenly light and afterwards he entered the
earthly community quite unintentionally (he was attracted to Nastassya Filippovna with whom he
established a spiritual and mystical relationship). There again he was withdrawn as an idiot
or outsider. (here associating the idea of a person who is absent from earthly life). Brothers
Karamazov had the same fortune either. Ivan the man of thought, Dimitri the man of action and
Alyosha the man of spirit and Smerdiakov the primitive man. (the Indian Tammas). All of them
experience downfall not because of some flaw or false judgment as it could be conclude on
a surface level, rather all these characters are carrying the burden of the original sin of all human
race upon their shoulder. Their downfall occurs on a psychological level and all of them
experience a psychological collapse. The alien and hostile forces (Dostoyevsky talks about these
forces while describing Raskolnikovs nightmares in exile) ramify their spirits, but something
like a supernatural force saves them (suddenly something like a force throws him toward
Sonyas feet) and retains their existence in the universe. A flash glows in their life in this
ubiquitous darkness (like the sole light gleaming in Dantes dusky forest) offering life a certain
meaning and purpose. The deep and multilayered religious-philosophical conceptions of
Dostoyevsky have thought having the idea of Christ as God in its focal point as the sole spiritual
fulcrum for recognizing and appreciating the universe). In the realm of literature, the idea of the
annihilation of the individual as an existential entity from the universe appeared in twentieth
century in the works of Franz Kafka. In his works the individual is basically banished from
universe and he ceases to exist as an existential entity, turning in to a mask of an absent person
beyond which only his consciousness functions and who is no more allowed to enter the
The psychological breakdown of the individual which was dominantly portrayed in
Dostoyevskys works in the second half of nineteenth century was closely related to a set of


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incidents and circumstances which appeared in the realm of European literature demonstrating
the withdrawal of signification and meaning from literature and turning it into a symbol (in
symbolist thought) or a physiological unit(in naturalistic thought) which dominantly appear after
Romantic period as the outcome of the individuals disintegration. In Romantic period the ideas
of heaven and earth were separated from each other, becoming alien to each other and turning
into independent directions opposing one another (the former considered the individual as a
symbol of the other world which lacks any concrete and tangible substance, the later as an
physiological object, a combination of biochemical substance lacking any spiritual
aspect).Nietzsche was the first thinker who formulated this situation in his famous statement that
God is dead117.
If we substitute the word God with Man then everything would become clear and
understandable (especially if we consider his other statement God is something that must be


believes that Nietzsche is the dominant philosopher of the twentieth

century. It should be added that Neitzsche is not only the dominant philosopher of the age but
also the greatest critic of the Man. The man who is experiencing downfall and is gradually
collapsing until he reaches the twentieth century and here he allows him to read his merciless
verdict. On the other hand, if we consider the statement of God is dead literally, then we will
notice that here the death of Christ figure as God is the main intention of the statement. Along
with the annihilation of the heavenly aspect of Christ, the impenetrable shadow of the earthy
facet of Christ (Christ as Man) stretches out. The more impenetrable the shadow grows, the
dimmer the image of God becomes and the more inevitable the downfall of Man becomes.The
violation of this equilibrium (the absolute equilibrium of Christ) in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth century leads to the disappearance of Man in the world.If in Dostoyevskys works the
individual experiences downfall on psychological level, yet his existential foundation remains
unchangeable. While in Kafkas woks the individual vanishes as an existential entity, he retreats
from the world, loses all his directions, turns in to a physiological substance which could easily
turn to anything except human being.
84. Fredrick Nietzsche , The Gay Science 1882 (Sections 108,125 and 343)
85. Fredrick Nietzsche , Thus Spoke Zarathustra , 1885 (Part 1)
86. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)- Austrian philosopher and reformist

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 126

In the realm of literature, Kafka epitomizes those concepts which had already been
presented in Nietzsches philosophy (the defeat of the individual).The only difference is that in
Kafkas works the defeat has positive connotation (it is related with the notion of overcoming) in
spite of the fact that the notion of defeat has been observed from a much superior view point
according to which, as Nietzsche point out, Man is seen as an ape (the Man who is deprived of
the presence of God turns into an ape.)
In Kafkas works such an opposition between these two lives inspiring myths , (that is the
God and the Man) doesnt exist. He believes that the former (God) is absent and the latter (man)
is absent either due to the absence of the former. Kafka doesnt criticize the individual as
Nietzsche does. It seems quite senseless and absurd to criticize something that doesnt exist; an
entity from which the animating substance is removed and what remains is an empty framework
which will possibly be vanished at every moment.
The enormous absurdity of the external world, the senseless and purposeless nature of life,
the absence of any thought or purpose, the disguised presence of evil forces create a mythical
atmosphere where the individual is present as avictim, an outsider whose every attempts and each
step to liberate himself from this situation are doomed to fail because he has initially been
condemned to annihilation.
Kafka himself is going through the same nightmarish experiences of his heroes , his fake
objectivity and the cold and senseless intonation,

the extreme accuracy of the details which

produces the reverse effect , treacherously reveals those evil sufferings and inner Hell that Kafka
himself is experiencing beyond the curtain and beyond his words and sentences.
He knows something that his heroes dont, this thing is never articulated, and this is the
point where his stories begin.
Kafka remains absolutely silent and everything occurs in pure silence. What Kafka sees in
the world is so appalling that it is quite impossible to say something about it; he becomes
tetrified while encountering the image of Hell

he falls into deep silence like Dante when he

confronts the Imperia.Dante and Kafka are standing in the two poles of the universe, Dante in the
zenith and Kafka in the nadir and between those two points the universe flows. For Dante, this
flow acts as a pure catharsis, a spiritual purification. For Kafka the flow acts as a downfall, an


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absurd movement.Dante sees the sinners in hell; Kafka sees the hell in existence, where there are
no sinners and no punishment.
The existence itself is the punishment , the punishment is connected with the crime.
(Dostoyevskys crime and punishment), yet Kafkas heroes are punished without committing
any crime, none of his characters are sinners or criminals yet all of them are punished. There is
no crime but there is the punishment .In Dostoyevskys works we see the presence of crime yet
there is no punishment for it.
The absent punishment of Dostoyevskys works appears several decades later in Kafkas
works. The subconscious aspect of Kafkas mind perceives the distorted image of the world. He
doesnt ask why such distortion has occurred, because that question has no definite answer. What
we see and perceive is the effect, there is no cause. The negative forces are operating in an
invisible plan. We are not able to see them yet their consequences (effects) are quite observable.
Any attempt for recognizing the nature of those forces is as absurd as the pointlessness of the
Kafka doesnt yield to the temptation for finding the nature of these forces. He just
demonstrates the situation: the effect of those destructive forces upon human life that is neither a
moral psychological nor an ethical issue; rather it is an existential problem. The individual
becomes alien toward the existence and all his attempts for attaining the reality lead to digression
from reality. In his novel The castle, the castle itself that the land surveyor struggles to gain
access is nothing except the existence itself, the doors of which are closed for the individual, and
it is occupied by other forces. For the individual, the castle has turned into an impenetrable zone,
an inaccessible area. Conforting the extreme state of absurdity and incongruity while attending in
front of the closed doors, the land surveyor makes vain attempts to enter the castle (the absurd
point here is that he himself has received an invitation from the inhabitants of the castle, but he
is not allowed to enter)
The land surveyor preserves his humanistic features, and above all his sense of reasoning ,
yet in that specific case it seems quite impossible forhim to enter the castle (which here signifies
the existence).In absurd situation, the acceptance of any idea or principle becomes impossible
(like those unfortunate sisters who were not able to enter the castle, because they had preserved
their humanistic features).

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 128

The world is the scene of absurdity, a proper setting for the dominance of chaotic forces,
where the rationality is permanently absent. The individual is banished from this world; his
dwelling place is his inner world although. The individuals inner world is attempting to resist
against these forces but he is initially doomed to fail, because the individual himself is his
rationality, therefore he himself is doomed to banishment and annihilation.
The individual merely exists within his own mental world, and he just relies upon it, his
closed essence but as we know the essence hasnt yet turned into existence. In The trial,
Joseph K. is step by step driven out of the world and loses the chance of dwelling in the world
just like the land surveyor who strives to enter the existence but he doesnt succeed. Someone
tries to achieve those things that the other one has lost and apparently there is no difference
between these two people.
The law court where Joseph Ks case is supposed to be examined , extravagantly
symbolizes the pseudo community where the protagonist lives , the closed and self-contained
universe which has gained a mystical and supernatural energy , a specifies Imperia which stands
in sharp contrast with Dantes Imperia. Castle in Kafkas works is synonymous to the Law court
the doors of which are closed for the individual and it might not be opened during his whole life.
The law which has been separated from the individual has turned into a monstrous mechanism, a
supernatural evil force which is incarnated in the punitive community, the torturing machine, a
hellish machine which has been invented by satanic imagination containing within itself the
ruthless rationality of the absurd world , its senseless cruelty. Kafka has created three principle
grotesque symbols castle-law-torturing machine which are internally related to each other as the
three components and counterparts of the same conception. The Castle generally symbolizes the
existence , from which the individual is absent, the law symbolizes the mental-logical structure
which has abandoned the individual and therefore it has turned into opposition against him,
torturing machine symbolizes governmental mechanism which demolishes man if it notices
any sign of rationality , thought or vitality within human soul. In all of the mentioned instances
man vanishes like a bubble , the wind of oblivion and absurdity blows upon him and he
disappears from the plan of existence and through his disappearance everything becomes
possible. Here we may use Dostoyevskys statement: If God does not exist then everything is


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permitted120 in another metaphovical sense: If Man is absent then everything becomes absurd.
Here we may face this question which one is the consequence of the other?
Is the disappearance of man the consequence of absurdity? Or the absurdity is the out come
of Mans disappearance? Kafka doesnt set forth this question; he doesnt make any attempt to
find any resolution for this dichotomy which most probably will require a close analysis of the
whole human history. (the history of human spirit, if such a history exists) yet such an analysis is
not the main concern of literary analysis.
Everything becomes possible because the man who is the upholder the spiritual fulcrum no
longer exists. In stead of the cosmos the chaos invades human existence , depriving him from all
aspects of being. In the state in chaos everything is possible (meanwhile nothing is possible) .
The hero of Metamorphosis Gregor Samsa (Samsa in Czech language means I myself
with whom Kafka identifies himself) wakes up one morning and finds himself transformed into
a gigantic inset like creature. None of the family members of Samsa are surprised by witnessing
this horrible fact. They accept the present situation as it is, getting involved in all worries and
anxieties that this situation creates apparently disturbing the smooth progression of their daily
life. The transformation of Gregor adds to the worries of Gregors family who have already had
many things to concern. (the exact reason and nature of these concerns are unknown to us).
Everything basically originates from the extreme abyss of absurality, nobody could ask
why such a thing happens? Thats how it is and thats all.
What Gregors parents and sister are concerned is not his problem; rather, they are mainly
worried about how they are going to manage their own life after this incident.
It could be inferred that Gregors situation is so horrible and insoluble that his family feels
desperate and frustrated, being unable to offer any solution. They no more have any sense of love
or sympathy toward their miserable son. It means that the man could be loved only in the case
that he remains within the domain of human relations, within a definite plan of existence
otherwise he is doomed to be ignored.
Beyond these limits he turns into an alien, incomprehensible, menacing creature who is no
more capable of being loved and people should get rid of him as soon as possible. The
87. Ivan Karamazov in the early chapters of Brothers Karamazov written by F. Dostoyevsky in 1880

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 130

transformation of Gregor creates a disturbance both within his mind and in his relations with his
family members. His family is associated with him only on existentional level, not an emotional
one; nothing is able to establish a communication between him and his family members. the only
force which is able to establish communication, between people isLove, but love is absent here .
Gregors parents and sister didnt love him even before his transformation; therefore they
wouldnt love him after the transformation either. There is no love within the chaos; chaos and
love are two opposite forces. Where ever absurdity dominates, love vanishes.
Love cannot be flourished in absurd situation , therefore if life is absurd, Love will
become impossible . His family members were not able to love him either before or after trans
formation , they had actually became alien to each other . If Gregor has turned into an insect
physically (on an existential level) then his family members have turned into insects spiritually
(on a metaphysical level) in both cases Kafka presents the absolute disintegration of man, his
disappearance and his absence on the level of existence.
Vanishing from the external world as an existential entity, Gregor preserves his being as a
cognitive entity. His sense of cognition functions faultlessly up to the end; his transformation
doesnt influence his cognitive sense. The two levels of existence (the external and the internal)
are notinterconnected; they are separated from each other as independent entities. The external
level without the internal one (cognition) functioning as a senseless and absurd reality, the
internal without the external (existence) as an entity which has not been manifested. In both
cases we notice two separated and eminent worlds which are incarnated within human soul , each
negating the other , creating a permanent existential situation for the man where in

he both

exists (on the internal plan) and he doesnt exist(on the external plan).
In Kafkas works cognition and awareness never reach the state of disintegration and
demolition; it doesnt get dissolved in absurdity. In all instances it remains as the sole upholder
of human existence the only domain upon which the absurdity couldnt manipulate. Gregor
Samsa who once and for all has been banished from the external plan of existence, during the
final moments of his life thinks about his family with great love and tenderness. Kafkas
heroes are striving to attain an existence analogous to their cognition, to reach to a state of
equilibrium but all their stlempts lead to their further withdrawal. The ultimate downfall of the
individual occurs

in the early twentieth century in the works of Kafka. Kafka has the great


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capability of seeing those conclusive and prominent changes that have occurred in human
destiny. This capability is not his own subjective appreciation of the world, rather this is the
objective reality itself, and it is Kafka who possesses the ill-fate of grasping it. Kafkas mystical
world along with all useless attempts that he makes for interpreting the existence are doomed to
fail . Having certain biographical information about Kafkas personal life such as his bad
relationship with his dominating father, his unsuccessful attempts for marriage, his illness or his
Jewish origin (he was completely indifferent toward his Jewish origin) did not contribute for
understanding and interpreting the complicated codes and symbols of his works. This objective
reality was what he had inherited from the previous generation of writers : from psychological
novel of Dostoyevsky in mid nineteenth century , from Nietzsche who emphasized on the
downfall of man in the realm of philosophy, and in the early twentieth century Kafka himself
observed the disintegration of man on existential plan .He was the initiator of a new literary
direction in twentieth century which later became known as Kafkaian attitude , leaving a deep
impact on the literature of the western world. Kafkas literature is a major turning point in the
western world, After Metamorphosis or The trial it is impossible to create literary works
without being effected from these works.
The progressive curse of literary movements in the twentieth century verifies Kafkas
philosophical worldview : man has entered an alien and absurd world , finding himself caught in
the absolute reign of fear and anxiety .
In order to get rid of these tensions he has relied upon the fake instinctual defense
mechanisms, yet the more he relies upon these mechanisms the more he finds himself helpless
and abandoned being thrown into the baseless absurdity and chaotic world. The absurd literature
creates a world without the presence of man.Man has ceased to exist, this is the central theme of
absurd literature. In literature the idea of the disintegration and disappearance of man on
existential plan functioning as the dominant theme of literary works semantically acting as a
secret code , appeared not only in Kafkas works (in Kafkas works it is much more dominant)
but also in the literary works of several other authors. The three dominant literary directions of
Western Europe (Austria-German, English and French) in spite of possessing many
discrepancies in their psycholinguistic features (intonation history, ethnic psychological
structure, native characteristics and etc) share certain attributions in the collective system of

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 132

signification of their languages (the center of meaning), functioning as the proportionate

upholders of the same semantic system and sharing the immediate impact of the same energetic
center of spirituality. There fore the deconstruction or disintegration of meaning occurs
simultaneously (not gradually) within the three literary directions of the Western World (in the
early twentieth century the Western European literature was deeply influenced by Russian
literature specially the works of Dostoyevsky).
Therefore the dominant changesrelated to the translocation and transfiguration of the center
of meaning and the concept of the individual occur simultaneously in the from, content and
aesthetic-philosophical viewpoints of the avan-guard literature of Western world, demonstrating
the comprehensive unity and dominance of Christian culture over Western literature.
A) within the tradition of English literature the works of James Joyce121, (although he had
Irish origin which had an inherent role upon his literary works) specially his Ulysses (as well as
his Finnegans wake) demonstrates the dimming, internally devastating and fainting image of
western culture. Furthermore it vividly portrays the stumbling image of the individual who has
broken off all his connections with other people and is floating in the subjective world of sub
consciousness. If in Ulysses , Joyce demonstrates the overall downfall of western culture (as


does in the Waste Land), sarcastically showing the agonizing disintegration of the

western myths (originated from Greek myths), the ostracizing of the individual from the
current world of realities , where he appears not as the initiating agent but as the consequent
effect of certain circumstances , a lifeless maska dead spirit , and life appears as a fatal
coincidence , meaningless nightmare or chaotic incident appearing in Marions stream of

(the final section of Ulysses) , then Finnegans Wake demonstrates the

demolition of the individuals subjective world and his microcosm , the evanescence of the
individual within the complex and irrational vacuum of his apparitions, nightmares and
metamorphosis , where completely different symbols and measures gain significance , when the
time sequence, and chronological order constantly becomes violated then any progressive
movement and prospect of development become impossible , therefore the only thing that
remains is the inner chaos of the individual, the constant appearance and disappearance of the
88. James Joyce (1882-1941) Irish novelist and poet
89. T.S Eliot (Thomas Stern Eliot) (1888-1965) American poet and essayist and playwright


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unconscious images, the constant repetition of the subjective spiritual myths , and his quasi-real
hallucinations. Finnegans wake, one of Joyces most puzzling and mystical novels, which has
not yet been fully interpreted begins from the point where Ulysses end, from Marions stream of
unconsciousness, where the external man (Blooms Dublinian daily life) at the end of the day
retreats into the internal world of unconscious realities and afterwards moves toward Finnegans
wakes complex, inaccessible and irretrievable mythological world.
Joyce skillfully portrays the protagonists complex metamorphic courses which are full of
epiphanies ultimately leading to his disappearance. (Due to Umberto Ecos123 interpretation
B) In the first decade of twentieth centuryMarcel Proust124 in his work along with Joyce
and Kafka the three leading figures of twentieth century novel made unique attempts to challenge
the reliability of the concepts of time, distance and human relations.
He proved that these concepts are not reliable and the existential reality should be
investigated in other realms, where these concepts are looked upon from other perspective,
beyond the concrete concept of time and within the metaphysical concept of time mixing with
emotional impulses, imaginations, subjective ideas and the transparent, unstable and mercuric
stream of memories. In this case the sketch of a new reality will be outlined where everything
exists as it looks.
Proust is dwelling in a world, where the present is missing from the concept of time and
the world has retreated in to the past which covers the whole span of time. (present and future).
For Proust the present has significance only in the case that it turns into the past.
Due to Proust , existence moves from the unreliable state of present to the reliable state of
the past ,where everything gains a metaphysical essence and real existence. If present is a
relative concept due to its spatial-chronological dimensions , then the past is an absolute concept
due to its permanent mental-metaphysical nature. The individual doesnt live in a relative world,
rather his existence is fixated in the absolute world, and his existence is there not here. Therefore
the real existence is :there not here , therefore the shift from here to there creates a unique
Platonic world , in which the object which has external existence turns into non-existent
90. Umberto Eco (1932)- Italian semiotician, essayist, literary critic and novelist.
91. Marcel Proust (1871-1922) French novelist, critic and essayist

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 134

(Menon125 ) while the non-existent turns into existence (Eidos)126 memory is the domain where
the conception of the past become manifested ,that is his spiritual fulcrum, his inner energetic
center, therefore the man survives as long as he remembers, in other words the individual is the
memory itself. Within the realm of memory, Proust doesnt evoke the past, rather he himself
resides in the past, yet it is not possible to evoke the present because it has completely been
dissolved in the memories of the past. Only through memory, one can overcome the evanescence
of time and time manifests itself in the language. The individual remembers through the medium
of language, with words. For Proust the language is the only net that he throws in the river of
language and catches the reality. For Proust language is his reality, he lives in the past and brings
it into the language.He narrates the past, reconstructing it in the language, the discourse and the
world of the lexicon, where he strives to hunt the deceptive body of time, revive it, to approach
its soul and to be united with it. In other words Language is the resurrection of the past, the only
shelter and protector of time, the only island within the ocean of chaosthat the individual could
take refuge.
The individual is embodied in language, he doesnt exist outside of the language.
Silence is the absence of language, within the vacancy of which the individual regains himself,
becomes reincarnated as memory and disappears in the context of the language.
C) Anti-utopian literature appeared in twentieth century but its origin could be tranced
back as a reaction against the utopian literature of Thomas More127, Campanella128 and Rabelais
eighteenth century materialism, nineteenth century positivism and Marxism.
The idea of Utopia (the word has a Greek origin: basically meaning nowhere) was
negated in twentieth century not from the viewpoint of ideology but from the viewpoint of
practicality, basically demonstrating the disappearance of man in the ultra fortunate society in
the future , his complete annihilation in the vacuum world , heaven without man , existence
without meaning .

92. Greek word meaning idea

93. Greek word meaning form, essence
94. Thomas More (1478-1535)- English lawyer, social philosopher author and noted Renaissance humanist.
95. Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639)-Italian philosopher, theologian and poet.


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From the different anti-utopist works, I would like to focus on Aldous Huxelys129Brave
New World and George Orwells1301984. It is needless to say that the best anti-utopist literary
works should have been written in England, since England is the cradle of utopian thoughts.
The above mentioned novels are written based on two different principles.
1-Psychological-philosophical (Alduos Huxley)
2-Govermental-political (George Orwell)
In Huxleys novel, the individual is portrayed as completely deprived of all spiritual
values, cut off from the humanistic features and turning into mere physio-technological
mechanism, he has solved the metaphysical problems of birth and death, liberated love from the
moral and spiritual superannuated ideas, turning it into mere instinctual desires. The science has
become deprived of its ethical principles and has turned in to a course of mere technological
progression which is deprived of any human values. Huxley has created an absolute
technological society, a perfect image of the future (twenty third century) technological society
where man is absent.
John, the protagonist of the novel, is a young man who wasborn by mistake, he loves
Shakespeares works and carries a dog eared volume of Shakespears works with himself as the
only solace of his life. The well-known scientist of the Brave New World with a mocking grin
criticizes him, calling him old-fashioned.
Huxleys novel is a forewarning about the fact that searching human happinessby merely
focusing upon scientific technological developments and neglecting his psychological and
spiritual aspect will ultimately lead to the downfall and annihilation of man.
In George Orwells novel, 1984 another aspect of anti-utopia society is portrayed. here,
Orwell shows the monstrous growth of governmental -political mechanisms which leads to the
total obliteration of the individual, the dominance of alien and tyrant forces over the world, the
widespread turning of the whole community into idiots, the consequence of which is the
appearance of the man who is playing chess with himself (the game of chess in T.S Eliots Waste
Land which symbolizes the infertility of the culture).

96. Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) - English writer

97. George Orwell (1903-1950) - English novelist and journalist

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 136

The French writer, Pierre Boulles, The planet of the Apes is another anti-utopian novel
which portrays modern man as a being who avoids thinking and imitates the apes (as the
monkeys that imitate man)

Man as a Voice
Samuel Beckett

One of the distinctive features of the absurd literature is the absence of tragedy .Tragedy
is absent (and its occurrence is

impossible) not only as a genre but also as a from of

understanding, a special intonation which could demonstrate any symptom of human rationality
. The individual is the prerequisite requirement for the formation of tragedy , therefore since the
individual is nonexistent the possibility of the occurrence of

tragic situation will become

meaningless and absurd , because this is the individual who is the bearer of the tragedy .
In spite of the fact that absurd literature demonstrates a much greater tragic idea that is the
disintegration and eradication of the individual, yet such a tragic understanding doesnt find the
possibility of manifesting itself in the framework of characterization, thematic structures and
stylistic features of the literary work.It is impossible to find any trace of tragedy in the actions,
dialogues and communication of the characters of an absurd work, although there occurs the
most prominent tragedy of the whole human history, something that hasnt yet appeared in
The tragic understanding lies in the viewpoint and attitude of the author not in the mind of
the characters who are devoid of any understanding. What we see on stage is irrelevant,
meaningless and banished from existence, a mere gesture which desperately shows theloss of
self consciousness, like the final SoS signal of a sinking ship that we hear telling us there is no
hope for being rescued, since even the idea of being rescued is absurd and meaningless.


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If life, with its full measure is drawn in absurdity , then from which domain we might
receive help? Which area of existence lies out of absurdity .The disappearance of individual
leads to disappearance of tragedy which could be considered as the distinctive feature of
twentieth century literature. The basis of Kafkas works is the appreciation of tragedy, since his
heroes still possess the sense of cognition and understanding. They disappear as existential entity
but preserve their being as cognitive entity. Kafkas heroes do not exist as being (existence) they
merely exist as cognition. (like in Metamorphoses) Tragedy occurs as the result of the inner clash
that occurs between these two oppositions. In Joyces work the individual appears as an
epiphany (for example in his famous short story The Dead) or as a mythological mask (in his
novel Ulysses) while in Marcel Prousts works the existence (the reality) resides in language,
which he considers both as an epiphany, as cognition and as mythological mask. (namely as
archetypal mask). The theater of absurd moves beyond these three conceptions.. The individual
is neither a cognition, nor an epiphery, nor a language. He is a shadow which is incapable of
meaning anything, a gesture devoid of meaning and purpose, a discourse lacking signification, a
voice, a reflective response to an external stimuli. IN theater of absurd Tragi-comedy is formed:
a tragedy without the Man. Tragedy is the climax of the authors understanding and appreciation
of the world, where the painful process of Mans annihilation from the universe occurs, while
the comedy is the meaningless chaos of mans consciousness, when Man disappears but the
situation remains. For the disappearance of the individual it is necessary to create a proper
situation and for the creation of a proper situation the disappearance of the individual is
required.None of them precedes the other, they are created simultaneously, they are not created
by one another, rather both of them are created in the mind of the author spontaneously, as a selfconceiving image, objective reality, the inner layers of which are opened up for authors mental
world creating a special from of reality, a metaphysical world where everything is possible to
happen but actually nothing happens, the author remains behind the scene . yet, the total absence
of the author connotes his full presence.
What happens actually happens within human soul. The death of cognition actually
happens within his mind. The human insight and understanding do not become weak and
vulnerable (as one may suppose) rather it becomes much stronger, and here lies the significance
of the theater of absurd: the maturity of human understanding. Watching an absurd drama (or

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 138

reading it) the audience shares the principle notions of the author; he becomes liberated from
absurdity of life since he gains the opportunity to recognize the absurdity. Here the Aristotelian
catharsis works based on other principles rather than creating fear and pity which is applicable to
classic drama. Absurd drama is incapable of creating fear and pity, since the upholder of these
sensations, that is the individual is absent, and if the individual is absent then no psychological
connection could be established between the actor (individual) and the audience, which is the
prerequisite condition for catharsis. The situation could be recognized and understood but it is
impossible to reincarnate it.
This situation functions on a ultra human level, it is not related with human actions or his
flaw (the quality of classical drama), and it is totally functioning on the level of eminent realties.
the characters are passive shadows, they are not the initiator or the cause of any action, nothing
begins with them and nothing ends in them. There is no plot and theme, since the characters are
purposeless and aimless, they are incapable of producing any effect upon the objects, they
themselves are subject to objects and incidents. The plot lacks any structure, there is


beginning, no development and no end. If man is absent, then no logical development is possible,
in absurd drama there is no difference between the beginning and the end.
Everything happens. the situation which has been separated from the individual expands in
the same way, nothing develops, nothing changes, everything is just being repeated, it appears
and again disappears without any reason or without producing any effect, without meaning or
purpose. The lenses of the authors telescope are not focused on individual but upon the
widespread chaos of his unconsciousness where the final rays of rationality are extinguished, and
the only light that remains is the light which is reflected from the authors lenses which
penetrates into deep darkness. That is the insight that the reader receives from the author, the
only stable and reliable island in the ocean of chaos.
The philosophical basis of this idea could be found in Albert Camus131 essay The Rebel
the illustration of which could be found in his literary works (especially in his two novels The
Plague and The stranger). In Eugene Ionescos132 works either this idea was developed. In his
works surrealistic situation is not portrayed as a pure stylistic and poetic method of expression
98. Albert Camus (1913-1960)- French writer, journalist and philosopher
99. Eugene Ionesco (1909- 1994)- Romanian playwright who mostly wrote in French


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but as

of a mere reality, the reality which manifests itself in his cold and indifferent

objectivism. Here the reality is surreal not the drama. the perfect example of this surreal
situations could be found in Samuel Becketts works (Happy Days, Endgame). Waiting for
Godot the tragi- comedy which could be regarded as the Bible of absurd literature, which signals
the ultimate disintegration of individual in literature. It could be said that Beaketts works in
twentieth century is the chronicle of the ultimate annihilation of man, his obituary notice and he
once and for all dissolves in the austral heaven. His voice is the only thing which remains from
his being in which he can still reside. In Happy Days, we find his characters still living in the
joyful memories of the past while gradually immersing in the trashbin, and finally dropping out
of sight and we only hear the voice which is the only symptom of their existence, no other sign
of existence is left from them. InKrapps last Tape the individual turns into a recorded voice of a
tape recorder, the echo of the past which is much more real than the man who is listening to the
tape (Krapp).
The voice is more real because it has been liberated from the confines of the flow of time,
the fake pretence of the objects therefore it doesnt undergo death or demolition. The past
becomes resurrected in the recorded voice and as we know something which is once resurrected
never dies again, there fore the one who is sitting all alone in his room and is listening to his own
voice of the past, is infact communicating with his own immortality and it seems that he is
preparing himself for death.
His inner unity becomes decomposed, his own self is divided into two parts: the voice ,
which is the upholder of his being and the body which finds itself reincarnated in the voice ,
turning into mere sounds the meanings of which are not so important. He resides between two
universes, the Platonic dual worlds.The individual who has turned into object either hears his
own voice from the world of ideas as the inner chiffer, the code of his existence, which he has
already forgotten it and what has remained for him is his emotional world which is agitating him.
It seems that he has been transferred into another world , he himself has turned into the recorded
voice which is being played and he is not actually in the room where the voice is being played
(although we notice his physical presence)
Due to Becketts psycho philosophical worldview, the individual has abandoned the world,
but if he has, then where is henow? Does any specific spot exist in the universe where we could

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 140

suppose that he is residing there? Becketl simply finds some traces of him but he himself is still
lost. An impassable abyss is separating him from uswhere units of measuring time and human
understanding (thought and logic) are not functioning. Within this open space the mythological
darkness is dominating where it is completely impossible to specify the distinctive features of the
two worlds, the souls and the humans, it becomes impossible to specify the borderline that exists
between these two. Samuel Beckettarrives at this conclusion that the world is a vacuum, a
vacuum inside the individuals , and the individuals are residing in vacuum , there fore the human
cognition (which is the leaning point of Kafka) is incapable of functioning as before , it becomes
disintegrated and gradually vanishes not being able to dissolve the empty interval (the time
vacuumed) within itself .
Waiting for Godot one of the most important works of Becketts dramaturgy is the best
illustration of the above mentioned statement . In the play , the four characters are presented in
pairs : Vladimir and Estragon , and Pozzo and Lucky demonstrating two epistemological
concepts (the symbolic presentation of two realities ) . The first pair , are actually two destitute ,
lacking any origin or specific dwelling place in the world , we dont know who they are and
where do they come from , they look like a pair of ghosts , although we may guess some thing
about their past , maybe they are two poor , miserable and desolate creatures (when one of them
wants to hang himself by his belt from the there , it is so worn out that it suddenly cuts off ) .
The setting of the play is a barren deserted area, with a leafless mythological tree in the
middle where Vladimir and Estragon meet and wait for Godot (the savior disguised in
mystical veil, who is supposed to help them ). That leafless mythological tree is an allusion to the
dried fig tree in the Bible (the symbol of the old tradition which was denied by Christ) which is
incapable of providing shade or helping them to hang themselves ( referring to their unsuccessful
attempt to hang themselves ).
The belt , with the help of which the tramp wants to hang himself is the reference to the old
tradition , which is no more capable of saving them. Godot has promised them to come but he
didnt . Instead of Godot his messenger comes everyday and announced that Godot couldnt
come today and he promised to come tomorrow . Here an ironic comparison could be made
between this messenger and the Biblical angle who notifies the second coming of Christ or the


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prediction of other prophets about Christs coming for whom the vagabond human race are
waiting .
Waiting has paralyzed them and they are incapable of performing any action , to put it in
other words waiting is the consequence of inactivity . within this universal waiting situation the
only thing that they are able to do is talking . Talking is the only way to assert their being , they
dont have any other option to prove their existence . They talk endlessly . Talking connotes the
idea of communicating and conveying information , but here talking has another meaning
theydo not communicate , their words are devoid of meaning , conceptual development ,and
mental act . Here the words are deprived of any significance.
During the performance of his plays , Beckett asked the actors not to pronounce the worlds
clearly . The voice , was important for him to be heard not the words . maybe another reason of
Becketts sense of alienation toward language could be traced in the fact that he wrote the play in
French which was his second language. It is more appropriate to express the sense of alienation
in second language rather than the mother tongue upon which the whole emotional and spiritual
world of the individual is built . The language which has been spoken since childhood always
remainssacred , and it is almost impossible to insert the qualities of alienation within that
language . The heroes speak without saying anything , there is no idea or thought in their
language , there is only the voice , the sound , the idea is not important . Through the voice they
assert their presence , their existence in the world , without the voice they cease to exist and this
creates fear and anxiety , they are intuitively scared of silence . For them , silence means
deathand voice means life . They are begging each other to speak, to say something , to utter a
sound otherwise they will vanish . In the play Beckett uses lots of pauses and silence which
create a sense of fear and anxiety . The other forms of existence are abolished , the individuals
existence has been reduced to mere voice . The characters exist as long as they speak , existence
lies within the limits of voice . Becketts play is a prolonged voice , without presenting any
meaning . What is dominant in Becketts plays is the specific quality of the language and the
sound patterns that the characters use in their speech . These sound signals and rhythmic patterns
serve as the cornerstone of Becketls poetics .
This quality of language is most observable in Luckys monologue (if it could be
considered as a monologue ) . He thinks within the limits of his own words , for him silence is

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 142

the interruption of thinking and appearance of the pair of Lucky/Pozzo on stage is the
demonstration of loss of rationality which leads to the universal absurdity of mankind . The
master (Pozzo) and the slave (Lucky) are equal on the level of existence although the rope of
slavery is tied around Luckys neck and Pozzo is holding it , and he is the one who is imposing
his will upon him.Think !! Pozzo orders and Lucky starts to speak (it is better to say he starts
to talk deliriously). The relationship between Lucky and Pozzo is not the Hegelian slavery
relationship , where the slave submits his sense of reasoning to the master considering him as a
possesser of a higher from of rationality . In Becketts play the master is deprived of rationality
either therefore their relationship is constructed upon absurdity . Ordering is the essence of
Pozzo and surrendering is the essence of Lucky apart from possessing these two qualities they
are on the same level of existence .
If they change their position nothing will happen and the orientation of their setting will
remain the same. Beckett is striving to find some traces of humanity , for example the tears of
Lucky and the sympathy of Estragon with him , the tears and the sympathy are sign of humanity .
Estragon is trying to wipe Luckys tears but he kicks him . Lucky is inhibited within his own
cosmos (actually the chaos which has turned to cosmos for him) he doesnt let anybody enter this
cosmos and disturb the order absurdity .
Pozzo and Lucky are not subjects (subjects are capable of establishing interactive
relationships ) rather it seems that these two are just like two broken pieces flying into different
directions after a massive eruption . The individual who is dwelling in absolute metaphysical
isolation , crossing all boundaries of language , accepts the chaos as the cosmosand the absurdity
as a regular from of existence . He ceases to exist , the language through which Becketts
characters communicate is an anti-language and the individual who trusts upon that language is
doomed to vanish . Beckett demonstrates individuals annihilation , his disappearance from
universe , the downfall of Renaissance man , the signification and energetic nucleus of which is
exhausted and it is unable to convey energy to its orbiting electrons . The play and its
performance on stage have a mystical meaning :the transfiguration of man into voice . If in
Prousts novel language functions as the semantic epistemological system of mans existence in
Becketts works , (especially in Waiting for Godot) the language ceases to have such function ,
it merely exists as a succession of sounds , mans voice acts as the only evidence of his


A Way to Equiliberium

existence apart from which he is nothing . This is not only the final stage of mans disintegration
but also the demolition of the cultural system the nucleus of which is man , therefore Becketts
works (and absurd literature in general) is the annihilates Renaissance man , it is final accord of
Mans evolution which has reached its climax in the early seventeenth century in Shakespeares
works and then it gradually descends until we notice its complete disappearance in the realm of
art and literature . From Dante to Shakespeare the movement is upwards , then it takes the
downward trend. (this doesnt apply to the aesthetic value of the literary works , a literary work
might have a high aesthetic value and considered as a masterpiece while the content of the work
might demonstrate the downfall of Man) .
In Shakespeares works we see the ultimate degree of the individuals perfection and
integration which functions as the nucleus of cultural system , experiencing a downfall on a
sociological plan while preserving his psychological intellectual (philosophical) integrity . In
classic period the three dimensional structure of the individuals existence(soul, body, spirit) is
shattered , foregrounding the spirit and considering it as the most dominant aspect of human
existence which receives its inspirations from the ancient period (the development of tragedy).
During the Enlightment period the physical aspect (body) of human existence in present time
receives great emphasis (that is the individual in constant interaction with the social reality, and
his existential status in the materialistic world which leads to the the development of Novel),
while the Romanticism relies upon human spirit aiming to reach eternity which finds the sources
of inspiration either in antique period (Holderlin133 ) or in Middle Ages (

Novalis ) or in

Bayronian demonic period (the unspecified period of time) .

In Dostoyevskys works the individual becomes beheaded on a psychological level yet
preserving his existential foundations on the universe. Kafka presents the individuals attempts to
remain on existential plan and yet he disappears from the universe as an existential entity (the
fate of Gregor Samsa) and finally in Becketts works (and in absurd theater in general) the
rationality becomes disintegrated and demolished , the psychological and intellectual aspect of
language are broken down and the individual turns into a voice , and his words (utterances)

100. Johann Christian Friedrich Holderlin (1770-1843)- German Lyric poet of Romanticism.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 144

turn into silence and his silence into a succession of meaningless words and noises. (Luckys
It is impossible and therefore meaningless

to go back and start from the beginning

Everything that needs to be said has already been said (Hegel). The semantic significance of
the Renaissance man , acting as the center of meaning and rationality , and the source of vitality
and energy nourishing the molecules of culture has been exhausted.
Twentieth century culture (and the art and literature acting as the crown of cultural
heritage) is a system in which the human being and all the features attributed to human beings
are absent. Ortega _y_Gasset


was the first theorist who presented this worldview in his

famous treatise The Dehumanization of Art. This could be vividly illustrated in twentieth century
painting , where the man no longer exists on canvas . The cubism has transformed the man in to
geometrical shapes trying to reach the third dimension, surrealism accepts the realm of
unconsciousness as the spiritual center of the individualwhere the universe is understood with
other worldly measures and relations, moving away from intellectual mentality. For surrealist
artist the great paradox of the universe does not lie in the world of unconsciousness but in the
distortion and degeneration of rationality which is being portrayed as the revelation of
unconsciousness .
In Abstract painting the individual ceases to appear as the origin and object of painting ,
turning into an absolute association of colors similar to the transformation of the individual into
the sound and voice in absurd theater. The abstract painter separates the order and arrangement
of colors from the objects and attributes a special quality of demiurge to the colors (Gothes
color theory - according to which the color is the basis of the world , its autonomous, creating an
energy upon which the Nature and the whole image of the universe are constructed)
The colors are perceived as other worldly (transcendental) entities , the heaven descending
upon the earth, the object originates from earth but the color from heaven , therefore the color
contains within itself other worldly information, the chiffre interpretation of which is of great
importance for man. The abstract painters believe that the descendingcolors have not yetreached
the earth , they are floating in a vacuum, the world of the objects have disappeared , the objects
101. Ortega y- Gasset (1883-1955)- Spanish liberal philosopher and essayist


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are absent. Within the great variety of colors the disjointed Light either has not yet reaches the
earth or has abandoned the earth . The artist is dwelling in a world the toponym of which is
unknown to him , he has only got a map yet he doesnt know how to read it, he moves forward
simply by relying upon his intuitive faculties , each moment expecting to tumble down in the
mirages of the enchanting colors . That is a queer desert , nobody lives there , as the German
romantic writer claims :This is not the man who has lost his shadow, rather, this is the shadow
that has lost the man. Ortega _y_Gasset considers this as the absolute liberation of art from the
humans, its autonomous Kingdom and its independence from the human and nature.
Basically accepting the idea of the Spanish writer, I should say that this is not the art that
has liberated itself from man , rather the man has been exhausted within the world of art . His
function as the essence of artistic activity is ended, he doesnt interest art anymore, and he has
turned into a shadow, color, voice and a sing system in art. Now as a human ,(as he used tobe) he
is as an uninvited guest in the domain of art and if he succeed to enter art castle (like
Kafkas castle), then the secondary role is offered to him , or a mask is given to him to make
him unrecognizable, otherwise the doors of the castle would be closed for him. He can enter as
an unknown person, a disguised character, a stranger (the protagonist of Camus Novel)
avoiding the influence of art.
A substantial transfiguration should occur within his soul and body , he is no more
accepted and welcomed with his old appearance . The vivacious , breathing and ideal man of
Shakespearean period in twentieth century literature turns into a structure , a combination of sign
systems which has the capability of turning into different shapes and versions and each version
then turns into a character lacking any individuality. Therefore the man is not important as an
individual , he is important as a structure.
Restoring what has already been finished and to repeat what has already occurred is
senseless , it is impossible to search for any meaning in what has already finished . From
Shakespeare to Beckett (from Rafael to Picasso as well) , the man gradually abandons his
spiritual center , he dissolves into other components (body ,soul,spirit) of his own being , he
becomes decomposed and again restructured in a new circumstances , turning into a structural
objectwhich requires a new interpretation by summing up and combining its divided components
and creating a new image.

Henrik Edoyan , Anita Hayraptian 146

R .Steiner believes that in the austral universe Shakespeares characters are alive ,
Goethes characters are semi alive but Schiller characters are dead . In Post- Shakespearean
literature the human paradigm moves from life to death , descends from the aboveto the below,
from the concept of the integrated I he reachesthe idea(Platos Eidos) , and the idea (or
thought or rationality) becomes reincarnated in the from of the structure.
Therefore the appearance of structure is synonymous to the disappearance (the death )of
man (specially emphasized in Modernist and Postmodernist literature) and the resurrection of his
idea , therefore making strict judgment about the two concepts of man and idea is not correct
Hamlet (or Othello) lives and thinks about man (his Eidss) while Becketts characters are
the structure of the same Eidos itself , they getvery close to Eidos but they dont turn in to
individum (Man exists in the universe as individum). The idea could die within the individum,
and the individum could die in idea as well. Becketts characters are dead as individums but they
are alive as the resurrected ideas (Eidos).
In a paradoxical manner, man has disappeared in the idea , yet he has got too close to the
spiritual center of the idea, and the dim light of this center is reflected upon his face
demonstrating the concealed spiritual essence of Man . That is his Spiritual Light , which he has
already abandoned it, and he has been enclosed within himself yet he once again starts
approaching it although he has already abandoned it . In other words , the Christ Man figure of
Renaissance period , already abandoning the Christ God figure of Middle ages reaches to the
borderline of downfall in twentieth century and ceases to exist as a center of meaning , a
thematic feature , a content and the metaphysicalnucleus of cultural system , therefore the art
being deprived of the above mentioned qualities appears in a barren field(like T.S.Eliots\
Wasteland) loses its inner spiritual energy, engages himself in meaningless activities which leads
him to nothingness (the fate of the art in the late 20th and early 21st century).
The End


A Way to Equiliberium