Sunday 13th May – Tuesday 15th May 2012
Prague, Czech Republic
Conditions of Violence in the Story of Coriolanus
Apostolos N. Stavelas
Research Centre on Greek Philosophy, Academy of Athens, Greece
Despite what has been acknowledged as the war–type mimetic species of violence, as also despite the metaphor of this type of violence in the peacetime processes of political negotiations, one by merely standing by his word may become the subject and/or the objective of violent force, either at the same time or subsequently, either in political terms or not.
In the story of Coriolanus, as depicted in a line of texts, we may observe certain types, forms and conditions of violence – or, in other words, we become aware of the norms and parameters of the nobility, the sincerity and the legitimacy of violence, both in diction and in action, both political and personal, both as a rhetorical strategy and as a way of living.
The violent Coriolanus – a hero of “rages and revenges” suitable for the “Sturm und Drang” movement’s Prometheic type of hero – is not brutal in the sense of bestial appetites but animalistic and passionate, in the way he becomes the primary victim of his disjointed feelings, tendencies, beliefs, principles and political acts.
His violence contrasted to the merciful and the sense of modesty and egalitarian morality differentiates him from Oedipus – an archetypal analogue – primarily in terms of the obsession with which he emulates the violence of his psychological soliloquy as he airs his opinions. In his practice, war violence and political–social behavior become identical with each other as the hero’s psychological turbulence advances towards a self-destructive way of living. The violent character in case is the character of a hero who refuses to be represented as a hero and who by this paradoxical refusal and despite the romantic implications of this ethic he justifies himself via self–denial and destruction.
Violence as a form of Communication in Wolfram´s von Eschenbach’s Willehalm
Universität Bayreuth, Germany
My contribution will deal with the question of representation and discussion of violence in medieval literature. In a feudal society, in which politics and regimen depends generally on personal relationships, violence is of very high importance. On the one hand, the paper tries to develop a concept of violence as a sociocultural and historical determinate phenomenon, and on the other hand it takes into account the implications of “narrated violence”.
In a constructivist theoretical framework, based mainly on thoughts of the system theory of the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, violence can be grasped as a form of communication, which fulfills a specific function. Literature allows the reflection of problems, possibilities and limits of violence as a form of communication in its own narrative framework. Furthermore “narrated violence” follows certain narrative rules and logics.
In Wolfram’s von Eschenbach Willehalm violence is omnipresent, both in the war between Christians and pagans and in the conflict between ruler and vassal. The paper analyses the rules of different forms of violence inside the text but mainly tries to describe in which way violence as a form of communication allows the transformation of conflicts.