The historical and the actual merge and clash with the mythological predestination of the fate of human beings and their place on the historical plain. This is how Northrop Frye describes 20 th century literature, from Kafka and Joyce to Beckett and Ionesco. Caught in the clash between these two determinisms, human beings become victims and the irony of human existence is personified, among other things, by the character of “typical victim” who, in spite of alleged guilt and through the inevitability of historical processes (which keep alive the illusion of “realistic reality”), remain, in the mythological context, the innocent “sacrificial lamb”, i.e. the type of character that in ancient Greek drama was called pharmakos. Pharmakos is innocent and guilty at the same time. Innocent because the consequences he suffers are disproportionate to his actions. Guilty because he bears the “social guilt”, as Frye calls it, for no other reason but because he lives in a world where injustice is an inevitable part of existence.
(Excerpt from essay by Jasmina Vrbavac)
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