Al-Hakim's equilibrium under the microscope. A study in Al-Hakim's philosophy through his plays

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Abstract

The Egyptian playwright Tawfiq al-Hakim assumes the philosophy of Equilibrium/equivalency (al-Ta'aduliyya) 1 as a lifestyle and center of art. He looks at the phenomena of nature and life through this philosophy in an attempt to point out its importance and intervention in the details of people's life, behavior, primary needs, and the essence of their existence. From al-Hakim's writing about this philosophy, we see that he is fully persuaded that this philosophy is the best logical explanation of all the existing pheno-mena. In his view, it controls the aspects of this universe and imposes itself as the best integrated theory that introduces an interpretation to all phenomena of human life. However, this apparent conviction is discovered to be not fully established and its foundations collapse if we investigate al-Hakim's theatrical works and compare them with his theorizations in this field. Researcher Mahmud Amin al-'Alim hints at the existence of a flaw and contradiction in al-Hakim's concepts of equilibrium, but he does not elaborate or discuss his argument profoundly or analyze this aspect thoroughly in al-Hakim's plays. This modest study attempts to trace al-Hakim's theory as he introduces it. It surveys some of his major plays in an attempt to reveal the flaws in this equilibrium, and discusses their reasons and results. Finally, I will point out the paradoxical aspects between al-Hakim's art and his theorization. The study deals with and refers to the plays that are most representative of al-Hakim's theory of equilibrium with a specific focus on his play Pygmalion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-219
Number of pages31
JournalArabica
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2007

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