THE MYTH OF THE RING OF GYGES – 2019-3

From Hakob Paronyan to John Tolkien 

Summary

Albert A. Makaryan, Astghik V. Soghoyan
The periodical “Theatre: Friend to Children” (1876-1878, Constantinople) has its unique place in the context of H. Paronyan’s literary heritage. At first glance by contradicting to the latter’s perception of worldview, that is, comic and not being fitted into the widespread definition of pattern of “satiric author” Paronyan’s literary works for children supplement Paronyan’s satire and give them new emphasis and shades: if laughter is the ruthless mean for criticising the despicable features of the society, then the advice written in fatherly language educates the future society by eradicating those condemnable things just at the moment of their emergence.

The primary principal adopted by Paronyan is not to decieve children. Lie is the most criticised and condemned sin in the context of the author’s literary heritage for children, and the writer chosses the road of not decieving which is also expressed in the genre system of literary works published in the periodical: the prefered genre of Paronyan is realistic creation.

In the structure of the periodical the magic gets negative shade and meaning. In his periodical the great satirist gives place only to two fairy tales (“Red Varduk” and “The Ring of Gyges”) by trying to break the children’s faith in magic through them. He not only just presents those works but also tries to show logically the impossibility of the events described in them: the wolf can’t speak like man and the ring of invisibility doesn’t exist.

In the article the work “The Ring of Gyges” is analysed in the realationship of source-reproduction: this small work is a peculiar cultivation of the myth about Gyges based on versions by Plato and Herodotus. If the latters had referred to the myth from the perspective of history and philosophy, then the Armenian author has worked it out as a work for children adapting it to the worldview of the children. It is noteworthy that years after the reproduction by Paronyan the English writer J. R. R. Tolkien has put the same myth at the basis of his masterpieces, i.e., novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” by creating his works on the motive of the found ring of invisibility. The article observes the worked out version by Paronyan also in the context of parallels with those works.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.