A character of daemonic type in Anton Chekhov’s play “Ivanov”

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


Vesntik TSU. Philology. 2013

A character of daemonic type in Anton Chekhov’s play “Ivanov”

About the authors:

Yulia M. Fatkullina,
post-graduate student, Russian Literature Department, Institute for Humanities, Tyumen State University

Sergey A. Komarov, Dr. Sci. (Philol.), Professor, Department of Russian and Foreign Literature, University of Tyumen; russlit@utmn.ru


The play «Ivanov» in the artistic vision of Chekhov serves as a borderline. On the one hand, there is an obvious link between Comedy and the tradition of the Russian predecessors of the author, in particular dramatic texts by Ostrovsky; on the other hand, in the play there are remarkable experiments, the creator of «The Seagull»’s new forms and methods. The Comedy shows the evolution of the characters of the demon type, rising from the provincial society, called the «Dark Kingdom» in the Russian criticism, and the character of the demon of a romantic type into the new type of character. It formed a creative system of Chekhov’s plays and is potentially close to the hero of Dionysus’s type in the version of Friedrich Nietzsche. In the text, the bearers of the sign of demonism in the society are deprived of their individuality of ordinary people, such as Dudkin, Babakina, nameless guests, demonic characters of romantic type – Shabelsky and Borkin. However, the structure of the action in the play indicates that this type of character as a whole has been exhausted. The prospect of development will be linked with the figure of Ivanov: it bears marks of the hero of the demon, the hero of the victim and the hero who is preapring to be the Dionysus’s hero. Only growth of mythological and poetic layer in most components of the dramatic whole will help the character’s potential to manifest organically and constructively and to bring to the reader modernist qualities of individual author’s myth about Russia and its fate. But it would happen only in the mid-1890s.


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