『走れメロス』とディオニュシオス伝説 [in Japanese] Hashire Meros and Dionysius Legends [in Japanese]
Access this Article
Search this Article
A famous short story be Osamu Dazai, "Hashire Meros" and a nursery tale by Miekichi Suzuki are both based on the same Greek story known as 'Damon and Pythias, 'one of the anecdotes concerning a tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius. This paper attempts to survey the Dionysius legends contained in Suzuki's work, especially the Damon-Pythias story, and to give a new point of view to Dazai's story. Suzuki's work is a collection of seven legends about Dionysius. It is unique in containing not only famous legends. like 'Damocles' sword, 'but also minor ones. His direct source is untraceable. But these anecdotes are extracted probably from Diodorus Siculus, Cicero, and Diogenes Laertius. A lot of classical authors recount the Damon-Phintias story. There are some differences among them. Remarkable differences are : 1. which is sentenced to death, and which becomes a hostage ; 2. the reason of the punishment ; 3 . the reason for requesting the release ; 4. the period of the release ; 5. whether the two accept the king as their third friend. Considering these points. Suzuki's version seems to be from Diodorus. The Damon story in Hyginus and that in Polyaenus are rather different from the other authors, in the protagonists' name and the reason and the period of the temporary release. In addition to that, there is a quite peculiar element in Hyginus that a torrent blocks the protagonist's way back to the tyrant. Authors of posterity used the Damon story for their literary works. The most famous is Schiller's ballad, "Die Burgschaft." He wrote this ballad from Hyginus' version. He took over its peculiarities and made his work more dramatic. Later he revised the ballad, changing the title to "Damon und Pythias" and the name, 'Moros, ' in the second verse to 'Damon.' Dazai wrote his short story using a Japanese translation of "Die Burgschaft" based on the text before revision and the annotation attached to it by the translator. Basically he followed Schiller faithfully, but he added a lot of new elements. The most remarkable is that he made the protagonist a shepherd living in a village. This setting suits the 'three days' release of Hyginus and Schiller. Besides, the characterization of the protagonist as a simple and honest person, significant to the plot and theme of this work, depends on this setting.
- Classical studies
Classical studies (16), 39-59, 1999-08-31