This article interrogates how citizenship and sacrifice are portrayed in Moshe Shamir’s novel-turned-play He Walked through the Fields (1947). Arguing that the underlying aesthetic, emotional, and political sensibility of the play is “tragic” in the classical sense, the article demonstrates how this tragic sensibility served to both portray and mask the fundamental contradictions of citizenship in the immediate post-statehood era. As a tragedy, He Walked through the Fields derives its dramatic effect precisely from the tension between the hero’s seemingly self-willed actions and his casting as a scapegoat for the community. In denying his male protagonist autonomous thought and subjectivity and portraying his “destiny” within the framework of the tragic, Shamir is able to resolve the conflict between national sovereignty and political heteronomy.


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pp. 197-211
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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