Why Is The Most Popular Russian Fairytale Hero Ivan The Fool

Why Is The Most Popular Russian Fairytale Hero Ivan The Fool
Why Is The Most Popular Russian Fairytale Hero Ivan The Fool

Video: Why Is The Most Popular Russian Fairytale Hero Ivan The Fool

Video: Ilya Muromets and Sparrow the Robber (cartoon) 2022, September

The folk tale is fraught with many mysteries. Not everything in it is understandable to a modern person, and some moments even cause bewilderment. For example, why is Ivan, the protagonist of Russian fairy tales, necessarily a fool?

Ivan the Fool from P. Ershov's fairy tale
Ivan the Fool from P. Ershov's fairy tale

There are people who see this as a reason for accusations against the Russian people: in his fairy tales, he belittles the mind! The superficiality of this view is obvious. A hero who is positioned as a "fool" always wins in the end, which allows one to think: is he really that stupid?

How Ivan the Fool wins

The fabulous Ivanushka the Fool is far from an epic hero. There is neither strength nor military prowess in him, and yet he emerges victorious, and for the same reasons for which he finds himself "in the fool".

So, a very common story about a fool who finds himself in a stupid position because he does everything as his mother tells him, without taking into account the specific circumstances. Mother taught me to say to people loading grain on the cart: "You shouldn't carry it, you shouldn't carry it, you shouldn't carry it!" Indeed, what could be more stupid than obeying your parents! Any self-confident young man is convinced of this, and from this point of view, the hero really looks like a "fool".

But in another fairy tale, Ivan finds himself in an advantageous position for the same reason. A dying father gives his three sons a seemingly senseless task: to spend three nights at his grave. “Smart” older brothers, sensing danger, “prudently” run away, and only the fool-younger remains faithful to his father's last will, for which he receives wonderful gifts. The moral is obvious: remain faithful to the age-old traditional values, no matter how others relate to it, and you will preserve the "treasures" of your kind.

The "stupidity" of this hero also has one more aspect: an unconventional approach to solving problems presented by the outside world. Modern psychologists call this quality creativity - the universal ability to be creative, to find something new. But the new is always perceived through the prism of prejudice, and as a result, the hero is provided with the stigma of a "fool". So, in the fairy tale "Ivan the Bestalany and Elena the Beautiful", the queen's maid receives an impossible task: to sew a dress from such a thin fabric that it only crawls away from a needle. Ivan the Fool comes to the rescue: he throws away the needle and begins to pull the threads with his hands. The maid laughs at him, but he manages to sew the dress.

Another quality of this hero is kindness. A kind person also often does not look very smart in the eyes of others. What could be more stupid than neglecting your own interests for the sake of strangers? But it is precisely this tactic that makes it possible to acquire valuable allies. So, Emelya, who, although he does not bear the name Ivan, also belongs to the type of a fairy-tale fool, shows compassion. He lets go of the pike, which he could boil and eat, for which he receives gratitude in the form of a magic spell.

So, Ivan the Fool is a kind person, unconventional thinking and loyal to the values ​​of his ancestors. But is it only?

Deep roots of the image

For a modern person, the word "fool" means only a person with low intelligence, but this was not always the case. Suffice it to recall the expression "village idiot": a mentally ill person whom everyone knows and no one offends - that would be a sin! Moreover, it was believed that such a person "should" be in the village, this is a kind of talisman.

This attitude existed not only in Russia. In particular, A. Daudet plays up a similar belief in the drama "The Arlesienne": when a young man is healed of madness, tragic events begin in the family. “There is no more fool in our house!” The heroine notes with bitterness.Where does this attitude to madness come from?

From the point of view of ancient man, insanity is one of the variants of what would now be called an "altered state of consciousness." This state can be achieved artificially - self-hypnosis, the use of intoxicating substances and other techniques. This is exactly what shamans and wise men did, performing magical rites - it was believed that in this way a person enters into contact with the other world.

From this point of view, an insane, "fool" is a person who is constantly in a "magical" state, which means that he enjoys the special protection of spirits. That is why they were careful not to offend him, they pinned their hopes on him.

Thus, the fabulous Ivan the Fool turns out to be not just a person of a certain psychological make-up, but also the direct heir of magicians and magi. No wonder he always comes out victorious without resorting to brute force!

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