Studies of Gender and Violence
– Is it possible that in universo I alone am not drunk?(Ogniem i mieczem)
Sienkiewicz designed an attentive reader. The essential introduction of Zagłoba into the plot of the novel takes place when he decides to be a part of Bohun’s campaign against the Kurcewiczes. The author knew that Zagłoba’s decision to accompany Bohun to Rozłogi might seem strange and incomprehensible to the reader. Chmielnicki’s rebellion is rising behind his back, the slaughter of the nobles and gentry, from which not even Bohun’s company could save him, had started, and he, instead of fleeing to the safety of the hetman’s armies, sets off with the Cossacks on a foray. And a bold one indeed! Their target is after all Helena Kurcewiczówna, cousin of the terrible Prince Jeremi.
Right from the very start the author provides us with an inconsistency in the doings of the character, whose nature does not fit in with his actions. Not only that, the narrator himself, who in such cases should explain to the reader the motives behind the characters’ decisions, confesses ignorance in this matter; it even seems that he is surprised by the author when trying to “guess” the enigmatic motives for the character’s undertakings.227
Pan Zagłoba could indeed take shelter in the hetmans’ camp, but he had his reasons, for which he did not do so. Was it a condemnation for some murder, or maybe an irregularity in the accounts, he alone...
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