Friday, June 8, 2012

Quo Vadis

"Quo Vadis" is a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, an excellent polish writer. There have been several movies based upon this novel. I want to write about my theory concerning this book. First of all it was published in the XIX century, about 1895. In this time it was very common to write allegories. My theory is that "Quo Vadis" is an allegory, too. I think that the following parallels hold:

1. Neron - Kaiser Wilhelm II von Hohenzollern
2. Petronius - Kaiser Franz Josef von Habsburg
3. Chilon Chilonides - Otto von Bismarck
4. Ursus - Germany
5. Christians - the Polish people
6. persecutions - Kulturkampf

1. Kaiser Wilhelm II was mentally sick. Sienkiewicz may have known about it and it is known from his public papers he hated Wilhelm. Neron is a crazy tyrant, a despot. Kaiser Wilhelm was very active, he was a hunter, an automobilist, an artist. Neron does the same, he acts in a circus as histrio, he sings, even dances.

2. Petronius is an ideal person. Wise, elegant (arbiter elegantiarum), good for his slaves. Sienkiewicz wanted to portrait the caesar Franz Joseph and compare him to Wilhelm. Sienkiewicz loved Franz Joseph and he writes about him as the only person who let the Polish people to love him. Petronius is militarily weaker, he does not have the pretorians, but he has a huge advantage over Tygellinus and Neron himself. An intellectual and moral advantage.

3. Chilon Chilonides. In 1866 the Prussians won a war against Austria and then an interesting event happened. The king wanted to go on and strike against Vienna, while Bismarck opposed this idea for political reasons (he was afraid of France). Chilon is an accusation, it is a suggestion that Bismarck was a spy working for Petronius (Franz Joseph). Sienkiewicz says that Bismarck was arguing with the king because he was a spy. But then something wrong was done to him and he switches his sympathies towards Neron. Because he cannot hurt Petronius directly he accuses the Christians. This is Sienkiewicz's theory about Kulturkampf, he thinks Bismarck hurts Polish because he wants to hurt indirectly the Austria. I also think that the name "Chilo" contains the first letters of a phrase beginning with "chancellier" and ending with "Otto", this is an analogy to the word "ichtos".

4. Ursus - this is the only Christian who has a Latin name rather than Greek one. This name means "a bear". Ursus is an allegory of Germany - Germany in a way betrayed the Austria and after the prussian-french war in 1871 joined the Prussia, which was stronger. Sienkiewicz thinks that Germany should "break the prussian neck" and come back to the rightous ruler, who is Franz Joseph. Just like Lygia is returned to Vinitius. The name "Ursus" must be Latin, because Germany is the Holy Roman Empire.

Again - this is just a theory. "Quo Vadis" (meaning "where do you go") is actually addressed to Germany, and the sense of the question is that Germany have to go back to Rome. Rome and Austria were playing in the same team, while the Prussians were protestants.

I think Sienkiewicz wrote this book and suggested only very few persons how to interpret it. Possibly this book was a political weapon used against Wilhelm II.

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