An editor In one version of the story, Abraham and Isaac walk up Mount Moriah together before Abraham sacrifices Isaac; however, just as he raises his knife in preparation to kill Isaac, Isaac sees him clench his fist and shudder with anguish. In the story, Abraham and Isaac are walking up a mountain to sacrifice Isaac. Sometimes aesthetics requires disclosure, such as when Agamemnon had to tell his daughter Iphigenia about her fate. This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - Ethical thinking demands disclosure; however aesthetics often demands concealment because it is more interesting. Not affiliated with Harvard College. Copyright © 1999 - 2020 GradeSaver LLC. Other examples include Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter Iphigenia and other tragic heroes who acted against ethics for a greater good. The main subject of Fear and Trembling is the figure of Abraham and especially the story of the binding of Isaac. Abraham’s anguish and distress come from the fact that he can’t explain to others why he must sacrifice Isaac. For example, someone with faith would believe that they’d be able to get their loved one back after giving up hope for them in this life; otherwise known as taking back what was sacrificed on the strength of absurdity. In the “Problema III” section, de Silentio asks whether it is ethically definisble for Abraham to conceal his action from Sarah and Isaac. Ethics tells you how you should behave towards other people and demands that you disclose things like your intentions so they can make their own decisions about what to do. People used to believe you had to develop these concepts over a lifetime, not just weeks or days. Abraham is a great hero of the faith not only because he offered his best, but because he expected the impossible and struggled with God. Søren Kierkegaard doesn’t understand how people can talk about going further than faith, because anyone who has faith would never give it up to go further. This problem builds upon the first. He knows that faith gives him back what he has given up. Like this summary? To begin, de Silentio examines the question of whether there is a teleological suspension of the ethical. A mother may choose to wean her baby from breastfeeding. Returning back to Abraham: if we suspend ethics and look at him from a teleological perspective (which means we judge him based on his intentions), which Kierkegaard suggests we should do since our ethical judgments might be biased towards those who follow common rules and not those who think outside the box; or else he was just a murderer like everyone says. The Question and Answer section for Fear and Trembling is a great He loves God but doesn’t have the courage or strength for that kind of commitment yet (like going through with circumcision). This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Fear and Trembling. In one story a bridegroom resorts to silence after he cancels his wedding when an augur reveals that some misfortune will befall him if he marries. Johannes understands the previous two stories but they don’t help him understand Abraham because Abraham wasn’t saved by sinning; rather he accomplished something great despite his sins. She then goes outside and watches Abraham walk away alone toward Mount Moriah. If you can find a way to accept those obstacles and move on without being distracted by them, then you’ll be able to accomplish your goals. What matters most is that everyone has tasks and trials in their life, whether they’re faithful or not. The two go back home together without ever telling each other what happened on the mountain. The true knights know that there’s no point trying to teach others how to have faith because everyone already has what they need inside them. Through Abraham's story Kierkegaard tries to relate his notions about Faith, the leap of faith, paradox, absurd, the three spheres of existence and more. Anonymous "Fear and Trembling Study Guide: Analysis". The individual must realize whether he or she is a knight of faith or just in a state of temptation. However, there is only one step away from moving into a monastery; therefore, it’s still possible to move towards the absurd with just one more step. Søren Kierkegaard, who wrote this book under a pseudonym and translated into John of the Silence, discusses how people in the modern age are going beyond faith. As a child, he loved it but as an adult, he felt that he didn’t understand it anymore. Johannes argues that silence can be both divine (communion between divinity and the individual) or demonic (as a lure). Agnete will be unhappy if he chooses the former because she loves him; the Merman will be unhappy because he has genuine passion for Agnete. Read a quick 1-Page Summary, a Full Summary, or watch video summaries curated by our expert team. More importantly, Johannes thinks that he wouldn’t be able to overcome the pain from sacrificing Isaac like Abraham did—he doesn’t think he has enough faith. It’s a movement from resignation to faith, and it can’t be done with certainty. Aestheticism says that beauty is more important than anything else so long as nobody gets hurt – which would make Adam an aesthetic hero but not a tragic one because he suffered no consequences from sacrificing himself for others. However, without at least understanding the religious experience he describes, at least hypothetically, it will be impossible to understand his words. So, Abraham takes Isaac out into the desert early in the morning and starts walking toward Mount Moriah. Once again, he aims his critique at philosophical schools of thought that lionize the ethical universal, while neglecting the singularity of the unique individual in his single situation. Faith allows people to be part of something bigger than themselves without losing their individuality. Abraham had no choice but to accept this trial because it would have been hypocritical of him not to do so if people questioned him about it. This time the Merman keeps silent out of compassion rather than self-interest which makes this case an example of “demonic” silence since there are cases where being silent causes suffering like in this instance where if they had talked then perhaps they could have worked something out between them without causing such heartache later on down the line instead of having both parties suffer separately over their own mistakes (and also possibly end up together happily ever after too).