LIA: infallibility, implacability, inevitability

KeskusteluWilliam Faulkner and his Literary Kin

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LIA: infallibility, implacability, inevitability

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helmikuu 5, 2010, 11:40 am

In Greek tragedy, Oedipus Rex for example, we know that Oedipus WILL kill his father, marry his mother and so on. All is predetermined.

I am wondering whether others also see this in Faulkner, though perhaps not quite to that extreme.

helmikuu 5, 2010, 2:41 pm

I think in Light in August and Absalom Absalom Faulkner wrote about people that were doomed because we in the South practiced slavery and even possibly because we fought a brutal war to continue the institution, although he like Hightower is somewhat more equivocal about that. I think Joe's end is very much a matter of fate, but it is of course not one he deserves - same as Oedipus, perphaps.

helmikuu 5, 2010, 4:51 pm

So many of his characters are "doomed" in one way or another...Quentin Compson, Eula Varner, Temple Drake, John Sartoris (so many Sartorises), and of course Joe Christmas and Gail Hightower. For Faulkner, "Fate" and "Doom" seem to be interchangeable. I've been reading him so long, it's hard to draw back and assess whether I had the impression of predetermination on first exposure, but it's definitely there now.

helmikuu 5, 2010, 5:05 pm

I would say the comparison also goes to the irony of fate. If Oedipus is so worried about killing his father and marrying his mother, he shouldn't have killed a stranger old enough to be his dad and married a woman old enough to be his mum. Similarly, characters like Joe Christmas are doomed in part because they regularly act in ways that make their destiny more likely rather than less.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 7, 2010, 6:12 pm

But if it's Fate, with a capital "F"....well...resistance is Futile, isn't it? Of course, in Oedipus's case, he thought he knew who his parents were, and he was avoiding them...his actions were based on bad information. If he hadn't heard the prophecy in the first place, he MIGHT have had a better chance of escaping its fulfillment.

helmikuu 22, 2010, 12:11 pm

I think the most tragic and most compelling of Faulkner's characters are clearly doomed by a fate they can't control, but I think it's society -- through its institutions and expectations -- that insures that their fates are inescapable. And there is a self-fulfilling sense to the prophecy that grows out of that, as you note, LTW3. Joe believed what they said about him, and made sure it came true.

helmikuu 25, 2010, 1:41 am

Oedipus was also about hubris. I don't think that was Joe Christmas' problem.