Structure of Shota Rustaveli’s stanza

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Tinatin Bolkvadze


The necessity of the existence of living links between poetics and linguistics is best of all revealed through studying poetic models. One of them is parallelism as a means of thematic and compositional unity and basis for the phonetic and syntactic structures of a quatrain (stanza) not only in “The Knight in the Panther's Skin” by Shota Rustaveli (12th century), but also in many cultures, such as ‘‘the old Greek poetry and the antiphonies of ecclesiastic music up to the brilliance of the old Greek, Italian and English poetry (Gerald Manly Hopkins).

The most common varieties of poetic parallelism that Shota Rustaveli uses within a line are gradation (especially climax), repetition, and enumeration. This poetic model is so comprehensive in “The Knight in the Panther's Skin” that it can serve as a basis for restoring many of the garbled passages to their original form and explaining the meanings of many disputed words. These types of tropes reflect the distinction between the semantic field, the synonymic series and the thematic group. In fact, such a distribution has no exceptions, unless it is opposed by the basis of Georgian verse: the quantitative division of syllables both in the whole quatrain (stanza) and in a separate line. The paper also deals with comparative parallelism and phraseological expansion, which is a kind of poetic parallelism, due to the semantic inseparability of set expressions.

Each quatrain of the poem requires thematic and semantic unity, for which various types of tropes are used. One is to combine two sentences expressing the same thought in a line. In “The Knight in the Panther's Skin”, each sentence of the quatrain often refers to the same fact of objective reality, which serves to expand the basic information given in the first line. This is often achieved by a metaphor.

In the last part of the paper, the connection between the poetic theory presented in the prologue of the poem and the principles of the thematic, phonetic and syntactic unity of each quatrain (stanza) will be considered.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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