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Kierkegaard's Fear And Trembling

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How does the individual assure himself that he is justified? In Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, Abraham, found in a paradox between two ethical duties, is confronted with this question. He has ethical duties to be faithful to God and also to his son, Isaac. He believes that God demands him to sacrifice Isaac. But, Abraham, firmly adhering to his faith, submitted to what he believed was the will of God. By using his perspective and that of his alternative guise, Johannes de Silentio, Kierkegaard concentrates on the story of Abraham in such a way that his audience must choose between two extremes. Either Abraham is insane or he is justified in saying he will kill Isaac.

Is Abraham's decision to sacrifice Isaac faith or murder? According to Kierkegaard, an action is "to be judged by the outcome (Kierkegaard, 91)." One has to know the whole story before choosing a side to support. In Abraham's story, Isaac is not sacrificed. God appears to Abraham and tells him that he can sacrifice an animal instead of his son. In continuation, Kierkegaard shows that a hero, whom has become a skбndalon to his generation and is aware that he is in the middle of an incomprehensible paradox, will cry out defiantly to his contemporaries, "The future will show I was right (Kierkegaard, 91)." According to Kierkegaard, those who talk and think like him live secure in their existence. They have a solid position because they understand that everything can only be judged by the end result. These people can be seen as sure prospects in a well-ordered state. "Their lifework is to judge the great, to judge them according to the outcome (Kierkegaard, 91)."

Surely a man who possesses a little erectior ingenii is justified in his actions (Kierkegaard, 91). In such a case, he should act and judge himself according to the result. If not, he would never get to the point of beginning. For, the point of the beginning lies in the result (Kierkegaard, 91). This means that no point or choice exists at the beginning of any obstacle. In the eyes of Kierkegaard, one should judge according to the result. Abraham relies on and trusts in God's love and his love for God (Kierkegaard, 88). This is not absurd. It is only absurd from the point of view that it might be calculated (Kierkegaard, 65). But, faith is beyond calculation, for Abraham "believed on the strength of the absurd, for there could be no question of human calculation... (Kierkegaard, 65)"

Faith is the paradox that the single individual can rise above the universal (what is believed by the masses) (Kierkegaard, 84). If this is not the case, then Abraham is lost and "faith has never existed just because it has always existed (Kierkegaard, 85)." Kierkegaard accepts faith to be a category that is mostly subjective, because it cannot be forced to change. Mediation takes place by virtue of the universal and faith is above the universal (Kierkegaard, 89). Johannes believes Abraham could do it because he was blessed and was a friend of God. According to him, faith is not about observing. Friendship cannot be objective. Abraham's ethical relationship with Isaac is that the father should love the son more



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