2017

2017
Third week of Advent

Introduction:

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Current: Danbury, CT, United States
Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

29 April, 2016

Imre Madach's "The Tragedy of Man," Revolution and Knowledge


Photo: Illustration from website: http://www.wga.hu/html/z/zichy/index.html 

In The Tragedy of Man (1860), Hungarian playwright, Imre Madach, reveals the inherent spirit within humanity to resolve differences through knowledge. This play, consisting of fifteen scenes, depicts the first couple, Adam and Eve, in paradise whereby Eve questions the validity of the Lord’s request to deprive the couple of all knowledge. In her exchange with Lucifer in Scene II, she philosophizes:
Why should he punish? For if he hath fixed
The way that he would have us follow, so
He hath ordained it, that no sinful lure
Should draw us otherwhere; why hath he set
The path athwart a giddy yawning gulf
To doom us to destruction? If, likewise,
Sin hath a place in the eternal plan,
As storm amid the days of sunlit warmth,
Who would the angry storm more guilty deem
Than the life-giving brightness of the sun? (Scene II)

After leaving the garden of Eden for tasting of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve fall asleep in their new home and experience a number of historical events to become aware of the many ways humanity has grown into self knowledge, beginning in Egypt, where the couple learn of personal glory. Adam then longs to learn of humanity’s struggle for the good of nation, through experiences in ancient Athens, Greece. They discover hedonism in ancient Rome, Christianity in the form of knighthood of the middle ages, where he also discovers medieval fanaticism. This leads to his search for sense in the sphere of Johannes Kepler. However, in the world of Emperor Rudolph, Adam moves on to the French Revolution, where he encounters the deceit of Danton and the ultimate failure in humankind’s ability to execute a lasting revolution. He becomes disenchanted with humanity at the London Fair. In the final scene, Eve tells Adam of the upcoming birth of their second child. She foreshadows:

If God so will, a second shall be born
In sorrow, who shall wash them both away
And bring upon this wide world, brotherhood.

Well, we all know what happened with that relationship, so Imre Madach, who places the burden of man’s struggle at the hands of the woman, also illustrates that humanity has within its grasp the ability to seize control over its destiny as the heavenly choir of angels sings:

…Yet in the glory of thy road,
Let not the thought thee blind
That what thou dost in praise of God
Is wrought of human mind.
Think not the Lord hath need of thee
His purpose to fulfill,
And thou receivest from Him grace,
If thou mayest work His will.

The Lord responds: O Man, strive on, strive on, have faith; and trust! (Scene XV)

Therefore, Imre Madach reveals, through the artistry of his writing, his intense belief that within its own consciousness, humanity has the ability to advance harmonic relevance from dissonant experience, for he presents Eve as the mother of humanity with the conviction that her children will move humanity forward in their quest for true knowledge. (Lakatos 2007)