- 静岡文化芸術大学研究紀要 = Shizuoka University of Art and Culture bulletin
- vol.9, pp.1-8, 2009-03-31
本稿では、『夏の夜の夢』や五月祭、および広場での笑いのシーンにバフチンのカーニヴァル的な笑いの理論を援用して、アメリカの代表的作家サナニエル・ホーソーンの"My Kinsman, Major Molineux"を新たに読み解くことを試みた。主人公ロビンの名前の起源には、春を告げる小鳥(ロビン)のほかに、『夏の夜の夢』のパックことロビン・グッドフェローや、ロビン・フッド伝説のロビンが考えられ、作品の文学世界はアメリカからイギリスへ、新大陸から旧大陸、そして中世へと広がる。この短編のクライマックスである広場に行列が通るシーンは、『夏の夜の夢』の劇中劇に触発された「ペイジェント」として、「演劇的な仕掛け」がこの作品にあることを論じた。As, in The Country and the City, Raymond Williams, researcher of Cultural Studies defines, Hawthorne's "My Kinsman, Major Molineux" also embraces the contrast between country and city. In particular its hero Robin embodies the country such as of innocence and simple virtue, and comes to town for his ambition looking for help from his relative Major Molineux. Therefore, this masterpiece first appears to the reader to be a story of initiation, as the hero's name itself symbolizes a small bird which tells the coming of spring. Yet, gradually following Robin in the moonlight, who is loitering in the street on a summer night, we shall enter into Hawthorne's "neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet…" (The Scarlet Letter, 36) Especially, in "My Kinsman," when we come across the following sentence "A heavy yawn preceded the appear-ance of a man, who, like the Moonshine of Pyramus and Thisbe, carried a lantern, needlessly aiding his sister luminary in the heavens," that reminds us of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Nathaniel Hawthorne is known to have revered Shakespeare's works. He changed the spelling of his name from Hathorne to Hawthorne, named after a hawthorn bush (May flower) often touched upon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. This comedy of great renown has two main characters: Robin and Oberon. Curiously enough, beyond Robin, Hawthorne created characters named Oberon in his short stories: "The Devil in Manuscript" and "Fragments from the Journal of a Solitary Man;" the former is a writer who burns his rejected manuscripts. This episode is autobiographical and furthermore Hawthorne used to call himself Oberon in his letters to Horatio Bridge. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck whose other name is Robin Goodfellow says "Thou speakest aright; I am that merry wanderer of the night. I jest to Oberon and make him smile." (Act 2: Sc 1) Hawthorne's Robin, too, is a wanderer of the night. When he notices aprocession approaching, he thinks it must be a "merry-making." The truth, however, seemed that it's a riot where his relative Major Molineux was taken to be hung. The big enigma here is whether it was a real disturbance or a dream Robin had after he dropped with fatigue. My idea is, it might be a stage-play or a Morris Dance by mummers in the evening like the May-game or a play within a play suggested by `Pyramus and Thisbe.' I propose this because Robin's laughter can be fully explained by Mikhail Bakhtin's theory about carnival folk culture; where there is the logic of the "inside out," and "the suspension of all hierarchical precedence." (Rabelais and His World, 10-11) Just as Bakhtin describes that "Carnival laughter is the laughter of all people" (11) and that the people's festive laughter is directed at those who laugh, Robin is an observer of the procession but at the same time he is observed by townspeople such as the gentleman and the lantern bearer. When Bakhtin mentions "we find both poles of transformation, the old and the new, the dying and the procreating" (24), we can assure the old is Major Molineux and the new is Robin. In consequence, Robin is playing a significant role of a clown to progress a plot and to make people laugh at the carnivalesque climax. This procession could be reflected by the historical riot in 1765, but another interpretation is that `Pyramus and Thisbe' incited Hawthorne to create pageantry in his short fiction as a public entertainment of mayings referring to Joseph Strutt's Sports and Pastimes of the People of England. The author of this theatrical device with a great spectacle can be called Oberon Hawthorne, and his jester is Robin.