» » The tragedy of man: dramatic poem
The tragedy of man: dramatic poem by Imre Madách
ISBN: 1177055740
ISBN13: 978-1177055741
Author: Imre Madách
Book title: The tragedy of man: dramatic poem
Other Formats: azw lit docx lrf
Pages: 230 pages
Publisher: Nabu Press (August 8, 2010)
Language: English
Size PDF version: 1295 kb
Size ePub version: 1187 kb
Size fb2 version: 1312 kb
Category: Poetry

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

Books reviews
'The Tragedy of Man' has as its protagonists Lucifer and the first men, Eve and Adam. After Lucifer has led Eve and Adam to the fall his aim as the `spirit who negates' is to complete his work by bringing them to utter despair and thereby destroying God's creation. His attempt involves inducing a deep sleep in the couple in which they are shown the course of humanity on earth.

In 15 scenes Adam takes on a variety of historic and future personae (a pharaoh, Miltiades, Kepler and so on) who exemplify a variety of concepts about human existence. Invariably, each concept is shown to be flawed. Miltiades for instance stands for the democratic ideal and is felled by mob rule (although in reality he wasn't executed as the play proclaims). After leading us through a plethora of historical settings we follow Adam into the future, first a socialist one and then to a very dire stage at the end of the world.

Returning after their sleep Adam is indeed driven to kill himself but is stopped by Eve announcing her pregnancy. God has the last word, telling Adam `I've told thee, Adam - strive and trust'..

Imre Madach is apparently the national poet of Hungary and this play is held in high acclaim there. It's difficult to gauge this as I don't speak Hungarian unfortunately and this edition is a photo-mechanical reproduction of the translation by William Loew (a lawyer) from 1908. Forgotten Books is to be commended for making this book available at all, still I can't help but think that a modern and professional treatment would improve the experience no end.

As it stands comparisons to `Paradise Lost' and `Faust' are very apparent due to the subject matter. As stated any comment on the poetic quality would be presumptuous so I'll concentrate on the plot. There, I found Madach's characters to be quite one-dimensional compared to Milton and Goethe. Lucifer's single goal is to destroy God's creation and Adam is a hick who comes up with all kinds of schemes, throws himself at them with abandon only to ditch them at the first obstacle and then looks for the next new thing to excite him.

Real human beings would probably modify their ideas when faced with a problem and even, maybe, learn from past experiences. If the `Miltiades' scene mentioned above shows that radical democracy has its flaws is the answer really amoral debauchery as in the scene that follows in the play? Wouldn't it be more realistic to tamper with democracy and add some safeguards? Eve is even worse, never really escaping the `dim-witted-whore-or-Madonna'-mould but this having been published in 1861 such criticism shouldn't go too far.

The upshot is that life is meaningless; the only meaning is produced by searching for God. This is very Kierkegaardian, if not directly influenced by him. The conclusion fails to convince, however, by the protagonists being mere scaffolds for Madach to hang his ideas over. Imre Madach was a devout protestant so I don't doubt his sincerity but even if taken at face value what claim has the play's God on the faith of man?

Eve and Adam are thrown before the bus, left at the mercy of Lucifer and after being shown the complete futility of every conceivable endeavour God steps blithely onto the scene and commands faith?

So despite my objections I do like the concept and I think it would make for some very entertaining theatre if produced. One hilarious scene is the Byzantine argument over whether the trinity is `homoiousian' or `homoousian'. Parallels to our current time are surely incidental.

Hungary must have a council of the arts or some equivalent. Perhaps they could be induced to sponsor a modern edition of this work?
It's a great classic of Hungarian literature. I'm so glad to get my hands on an English translation.
This is an amazing book. It is difficult to read because of problems with translation. But it is not at all difficult to follow the theme, the imagination and the insights of the author.The message is applicable to all ages - the past, the present and the future. It is no wonder that this book is considered a classic. It is a wonder that this book is not known widely.
Very difficult to read. Just couldn't follow the author's prose.
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