Three faces of Saul : an intertextual approach to Biblical tragedy
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The biblical story of Saul in 1 Samuel contains evidence of a tragic vision which has two central features. First, tragic themes are introduced and developed by means of multiple repetitions or typescenes in which the subsequent account emphasizes the tragic nature of the events described in the first. Second, the development of tragic themes is facilitated by the portrayal of the deity's ambivalence in enduring two kings simultaneously, terrorizing Saul with an evil divine spirit and sending a good spirit on David. The tragic vision in the Saul narrative has been perceived by Alphonse de Lamartine, and his drama Saül: Tragédie is an attempt to dramatize the events of 1 Samuel. The significant similarities and differences in plot and characterization between Lamartine's drama and the biblical narrative draw attention to the tragic themes in the anterior text and offer a new conception of Saul's suffering in the posterior text. Lamartine has borrowed from Greek tragic form as well as 1 Samuel for thematic materials and tragic devices. The deity is off-stage, as in much Greek drama, but the characters infer divine intervention in human affairs. Thomas Hardy also became fascinated with the story of Saul and in The Mayor of Casterbridge he has structured the relationship between Henchard and Farfrae on the relationship between Saul and David. There are similarities in both plot events and in characterization, but the most significant departure from the biblical material is the absence of the deity, which colours the tragic vision very differently, and idea of the supernatural is also of great significance in the novel. Hardy's novel displays evidence of the influence of Greek tragedy in plot and in theme. Also crucial to the novel are the role of fate and the sociological theme.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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