Orsolya KÁLECZ-SIMON, Western and Eastern Existentialism: Lyric Ontology of János Pilinszky and Slavko Mihalić. > 53

Camus was able to develop an ontology exclusively by the means of literature, complexity of which is comparable to those elaborated in philosophical works. Just like János Pilinszky (1921-1981) and Slavko Mihalić (1928-2007), the two defining figures of the second wave of Modernity in Hungary and Croatia, whose oeuvre can be also read as lyric ontology which has many similarites with the ideas of certain Western Existentialist authors.
The Plague focuses on a plague epidemic which is a traditional symbol of the „wrath of the skies“. This epidemic, however, cannot be interpreted as a punishment, because its intensity is independent of the reaction of the affected, and it also smites those who have not committed any crime. God is inscribed into the text as a privation, a lack: „mightn't it be better for God if we refuse to believe in Him and struggle with all our might against death, without raising our eyes toward the heaven where He sits in silence.“ – expresses his doubts Bernard Rieux, the main character. In Caligula, the position of the evil God is fulfilled by the title hero: „People don't understand fate and that's why I am representing fate myself. I have taken the stupid and incomprehensible face of the gods. The emperor wants to liberate people – by making them realize the absurdness of their lives by punishing them severely, without any particular reason. His decisions are unpredictable, and often violate the most ancient taboos. Chaerea is the only one in the court to know why Caligula's reign is so dangerous – that is why he takes the lead of the revolt.

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