The Daredevils of Sassoun: The Deep Structure of the Plot

Suren Zolyan


The plot can be considered as the content, as well as the pattern of semantic organization of the text. In this regard we suggest making a distinction between deep and surface levels of the plot. In respect to the Armenian epic The Daredevils of Sassoun this distinction provides real opportunity to reveal the integrity and coherence of the epic viewed as a unified set of all of its various branches, versions, episodes and even variants, – despite that, on the surface level, the cohesion between and within the various branches of the epic is rather weak. The underlying semantic structure is based on two associated axes (patrilineage – matrilineage; patrilocality – matrilocality) and two fundamental oppositions (masculine – feminine; own – alien). The deep plot of the epic can be understood as a representation of the transition from the matrilineal (matrilocal) system in its radical form (denying men’s role in childbirth) to the opposing radical patrilineal system denying women’s role in its absolute and, therefore, tragic form (denying continuation of life). The well-known Lévi-Straussian quasi-algebraic formula of the semantics of myth can be used as an instrument for examining a formal representation of this plot.


Armenian epic; Daredevils of Sassoun; epic as multisemantic and multidimensional set of semantic varieties; deep and surfaces structures of the plot; Lévi-Straussian formula and its application for epic

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