Abstract

Nikos Kazantzakis's drama Comedy: A Tragedy in One Act, published in 1909, is a critique of Christianity. Michel Foucault's notion of a discipline—"a type of power, a modality for its exercise, comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets: it is a 'physics' or an 'anatomy' of power, a technology"—serves as a lens illuminating how Kazantzakis refashions Christianity as a social system that is constructed in such a way that the subject, living in a world where Christianity is the dominant context, is always implicated in the discipline's framework (1991:215). Kazantzakis critiques Christianity by adapting the Biblical parable of the ten virgins who anxiously await the Bridegroom's arrival. Unlike the Biblical tale, however, Kazantzakis's narrative inverts the original lesson that teaches its believers that earnest devotion to God leads to salvation. Comedy presents 12 characters—men and women of varying ages—literally stifled by their anticipation of God's arrival at the moment of death. Kazantzakis creates a performance of the existential anxieties that emerged in the early twentieth century and have been perpetuated long afterward in the Western world.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 69-78
Launched on MUSE
2010-07-09
Open Access
No
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