It is evident that the circles repeat with the same features of the elements, (Possibly even with such elements that act as equivalents, which is the case with the third element) given in same order, rhythm and function. These circles are closed, there’s no expansion, and it is a typical standstill.
Still, there is a sign that distinguishes the two circles, and that is the intensity. The second circle intensifies the elements in respect to the first circle;
it gradates them.
First element: In the first circle the locksmith fears death, in the second, he intoxicated — cries. Second element: In the first circle Pavle meets the owner and the estate and in the second circle the subject (the owner) is annihilated but the object (the estate) remains. The estate will fall apart as well, eventually (the title is “Fallen Castles”) because it is degraded to a painting. Third element: In the first circle Pavle sees that his uncle and aunt live in harmony, but the disharmony exists between generations (the old couple with their children). In the second circle there’s no harmony in both directions; horizontally—between his parents, and vertically– his parents and himself. Fourth element: In the first circle the social democrat ecstatically defends an idea, in the second circle the defender of an idea is arrested.
The omniscient narrator says that after these events Pavle was preoccupied with thoughts about human history, but what exactly that is, the narrator doesn’t say. Pavle is a fictional character, he lives as a result of the events that preceded and will live according to the events that follow. We can intuitively guess his thoughts, but we can only define them in reference to what has happened to him. In other words, Pavle can not share the thoughts that the criticism would have instead of him, i.e. the literary criticism can not think instead of him. If these two circles with increased intensity happened to him, Pavle must have registered the following events: 1. fear of death changes from emotion to madness, i.e. man is doomed to restlessness, unhappiness and fear 2. the subject and the object (the owner and the painting) are annihilated to a painting, i.e. neither the man nor his works last forever, and only art endures. 3. family relationships, that is, alliance between humans is impossible, man is doomed to loneliness 4. a defender of an idea is arrested, that is, the idea of a man is destroyed by the society.
Pavle learned for sure– life is sorrow with double intensity. The omniscient narrator says that the problem was raised from a problem on a local, to a problem on a general level, meaning that Pavle comprehended the essence of things, he acquired knowledge, and he was enlightened. The episode concludes with a raven flying over. That means that the knowledge that he gained will have a fatal effect in the future. Why?
5. The nature of knowledge
Ivo Frangeš calls Pavle “the Croatian Hamlet”. Who is the English Hamlet? It is a character broken by his inner struggle. The English Hamlet is troubled by his dilemma in 7 long monologues: to be or not to be, and he remains passive. There are various theses for Hamlet’s psychoanalytical file: he is a neurotic intellectual, unable for acting. Nietzsche offered deeper reading of Hamlet. He shows that Hamlet hasn’t lost the ability to act; he has lost the will to act. He lost will because of more profound reasons. Nietzsche says: “The similarity between the Dionysian man and Hamlet is that both of them have dipped into the very essence of things and therefore they are sick of acting for they know that the essence of things is unchangeable”. Knowledge kills action. To act means that the things are covered in mystery.
Pavle, the Croatian Hamlet, in the two previously described days throws light on the essence of things because he finds out: Life is reduplicated, redundant sorrow, and so he refuses to act. It is a character that takes off his rose-colored glasses, and without them, he can not move in any direction.
We can predict what happens afterwards since the text has already formed Pavle with hamletian characteristics. He won’t be able to decide between the two women and eventually he looses them both. He leaves both of them to their wrong ways and eventually destroys all three lives. At the end we find Pavle in an expected position of a politician, trying to compensate for his lost anthropological values with a struggle for other, ideological, but this Pavle isn’t the subject of this paper. Our job was to present the textual formation of Pavle and to explain why he backs off in the first crucial moment in the book, at the first serious decision that he has to make.
The question whether the author ordered the scenes intuitively or he was theoretically aware of his work – remains on the margins of our interest. Firstly, because in our human psyche, complex and complicated as it is, some other people intertwine; Secondly, because the author is long time deceased, and therefore any psychological expedition through his thoughts is risky: he only left his works to us and as far as other issues go, he remains simply – silent!
Translated by: Nora Buklevska