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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, May 7, 2012

STALKING THE PERFECT TERM: THE COMBATIVE

I've been blogging on Google since December 2007, and only once during that time did I lose a Google post.

Technically, the post I titled CONFLICT AND COMBAT looked whole, but for some reason-- related I supposed to a code-glitch-- its topic-labels wouldn't display or co-ordinate with the rest of the blog.  A little before I had written AGON IN SIXTY SECONDS, where I was playing with such terms as "combative" and "noncombative" as a way of talking about the centrality of any form of interactive violence

Some months after writing it, I decided to revise my terms in this essay, declaring that "agonistic" was a good catch-all term for all those elements of a narrative which caused it to center on the myth-radical of the *agon.*  At the time I stated in that essay:


My first reason for so doing is because I want to use the term "combative" in another context, while keeping "conflictive" in the same place it was: denoting any form of conflict no matter how extroverted or introverted. This other use of the first term will be critical to the development of another set of neologisms intended to directly address categorizations designed for what I've sometimes called the Idiom of the Superhero.

My second reason for revising the name of The Category Formerly Known as Combative is that I felt a need to bestow neologisms on all of the "radicals" (one of Frye's terms for the predominant aspects of his four *mythoi*) so that they could be used as adjectives when necessary.
And still later, I got tired of looking at the weird little orphan-post and deleted it, deciding that I had pretty summed up its position in the essay SUBCATEGORICAL IMPERATIVES.


Now, one of the problems of IMPERATIVES is that in it I contradict myself by saying that Shakespeare's MACBETH made a "centralized use of an agonistic [significant] value."  And yet, if it were really "centralized," then MACBETH would be an adventure-story, rather than a drama, as I stated that it was in the same essay.  So even though MACBETH makes a much stronger use of an agonistic value than does, say, ROMEO AND JULIET, that value cannot be central, only somewhat stronger than it is in ROMEO, as both works are dominated by the myth-radical of *pathos.*

So by that logic, any story-element with agonistic qualities that appears in a non-adventure work would also be sub-agonistic in comparison to a genuine adventure-story, where the *agon* is the center.

I think it's possible, therefore, to revive something of my use of "combative" and "subcombative" to talk about the narrative focus on combat within that narrative, without having to reference whether or not it's "central."

Thus, I could say that, even though both MACBETH and ROMEO are within the sphere of drama, MACBETH is "combative" while ROMEO is "subcombative," and not trouble with the question of making the comparison with works of the genuine adventure-mythos.  It would be implicit that the narrative importance of interactive violence to the narrative-- which reaches its most intense form in the extroverted scene of combat-- has its own character within the drama, or the irony, or the comedy, separate from the way that importance manifests in the adventure-mythos.

This may or may not seem any clearer to the determined reader with the use of examples, but I'll expatiate on a few-- as well as that "another context" mentioned above-- in Part 2 of this sorting-out of Abstract Potentialities.

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