- Dear Ron, Both of these descriptions: 'Knight of Faith', and 'Tragic
hero', are illustrated in 'Fear and Trembling' in Problema 1: Is
there a teleological suspension of the ethical?, and Problema 2: Is
there an absolute duty to God?. Both of these characters, are
compared by showing their differences and similarities. K. compares
these two characters to show their relationship to faith, and the
methods which they use in their approach to it.
'Let us consider more closely the distress and dread in the paradox
of faith. The tragic hero renounces himself in order to express the
universal, the Knight of faith renounces the universal in order to
become the individual.' (K. 'Fear and Trembling' Problema 2 pg. 103
The tragic hero is faced with choosing between what he wishes to do
and what is his duty to do. He renounces these on one level, but
replaces these by performing them on another level. As K. says 'When
a son forgets his duty, when the state entrusts the father with the
sword of judgment, when the laws demand punishment at the father's
hand, then it is with heroism that the father must forget that the
guilty one is his son. Nobly will he hide his pain, but in the nation
there will be not one, not even the son, who fails to admire the
father, and every time the laws of Rome are interpreted it will be
recalled that mny interpreted them more learnedly but none more
gloriously than Brutus.'(K., 'F&T' Problema 1 pg. 87)
It is a father's duty to protect his son, yet in such circumstances,
the father becomes the 'tragic hero' because he renounces his
previous duty as a father, to replace it with an ethically more noble
duty, i.e. to bring his son's crime to justice.
One main characteristic is that the 'tragic hero' remains within the
I'll continue this message later, for now other duties call...sorry.
I'll elaborate on these topics soon. Iain.