THE CHARACTER OF NASTASYA FILIPPOVNA BARASHKOVA FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF KIERKEGAARD'S PHILOSOPHY
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The aim of the text is to analyse the character of Nastasya Filippovna (from Dostoevsky's novel 'The Idiot') and to explain her paradox through the notions of anxiety and despair taken from the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. The psychological, theological, and philosophical descriptions in 'The Concept of Anxiety' (concerning anxiety) and 'Sickness unto Death' (concerning despair) are referred to moments from the heroine's life, to her and other characters' expressions, and to the theses and interpretations concerning Nastasya's character expressed by researchers of Dostoevsky's works. Kierkegaard's and Dostoevsky's understanding of a man was strongly influenced by the perspective of Christian faith, itself paradoxical and incomprehensible. From the point of view of the Danish philosopher, Barashkova's absurd deeds may be understood (and explained) as resulting from her anxiety about her own 'original sin', which she had not committed, but whose commitment she, misled by her own innocence, took for granted and started to make desperate attempts to ensure herself that she had already been lost for the rest of eternity. For this reason, she ran away from Prince Lev Myshkin many times, although until the very end he kept offering her his help and an opportunity to lead a respectable life. Deeds of Nastasya Filippovna can be understood as an evidence for her despair, which, described by Kierkegaard as 'sickness unto death', is the other phenomenon leading to eternal loss. For the Danish philosopher, despair is the greatest sin itself, as it is the reverse of faith: lack of it. A man who did not lose his faith believes that God can forgive any sin, since for the Lord nothing is impossible. Nastasya lacks this faith and therefore, from Kierkegaard's point of view, she seems to be eternally lost. However, some researchers of Dostoevsky's works (as e.g. Elzbieta Mikiciuk) claim, that the symbolic presence of the suffering Christ in Nastasya's life to its very end in Rogozhin's house (cf. Holbein's painting of 'Christ in the Grave', considering the meaning of the woman's name: Anastasis – 'resurection', and 'barashek' - ‘Lamb') is the manifestation of the Christian hope for the unhappy woman, as her suffering was much deeper and stronger than her sins. Therefore the described heroine of Dostoevsky's novel seems to be the evidence for the paradoxical role of anxiety, despair and suffering in the existence perceived from the Christian point of view.
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