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Representation of the “Clowns” Metaphor in M. Elizarov’s Story of the Same Name. P. 127–137

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Section: Philology




Sizykh Oksana Vasilyevna
North-Eastern Federal University named after M.K. Ammosov
58 Belinskogo St., Yakutsk, 677000, Respublika Sakha (Yakutiya), Russian Federation;


This article dwells on the representation of the “clowns” metaphor in the story of the same name by a modern writer M.Yu. Elizarov. The key motifs of buffoonery / deceit and passion / inner emptiness are expanded on here, alluding to the famous Italian opera Pagliacci (1892), M. Tsvetaeva’s poem “Some – Made of Stone, Others – of Clay”, and A. Vertinsky’s poem “Screen Idol”. The study proved that these works have similarities in their plot. The analysis of the motifs of the modern short story shows that the traditional semantics of “pagliacci” (buffoonery) metaphor has become more complicated. The author’s use of allusions fills this metaphor with cultural and philosophical meaning. The structure of the “clowns” metaphor includes such semantic components as leisure, inventiveness, appearance of the characters, reflexive passion, idleness, and alludes to the persona archetype. In Elizarov’s story, we see a paradoxical combination of motifs of several works, so that the social and moral contradiction manifests itself with absolute clarity in the dress codes and portraits of the characters as well as in descriptions of the stage they perform on. The veils and all kinds of masks are lifted from the reality and at the same time the truth is “wrapped in the robe” of real life. This paradox lies in the fact that Elizarov breaks the moral norms adopted by the society without suggesting any new conventions instead. The play of discovering the truth of life is translated by him literally: a love affair (“the naked bodily”). Thus, the corrupt society depicted in the story marks not only the collapse of human relations but also the moral abyss the humanity has plunged into. The opposition moral death / physical death is based on Elizarov’s view of the essence of life as a special form of the development of society. The discourse of the story is thematically determined and characterized by a number of metaphors (Apollo, idol, clay cocoon, iron hammock) due to the philosophical and ethical issues raised in the story. The metalinguistic parallel is understood as a principle of the existence of the postmodern text.


modern Russian literature, postmodernism, “clowns” metaphor, semantic structure of “clowns” metaphor, Pagliacci, M. Elizarov
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