The Allegoresis of H. Skovoroda’s Fable “The Snake and the Frog” in the Context of Symbols and Mythologemes of the Ophites


  • Oleksandr Volkovynskyi Kamianets-Podilsky Ivan Ohienko National University, Ukraine



allegoresis, anagram, fable, hermeneutics, mythologeme, Ophites, symbol, H. Skovoroda, the Ouroboros


The allegoric images in many of H. Skovoroda’s works gravitate towards symbolization, which prevents their unambiguous and literal interpretation. A significant role in the possible allegoresis of the fable “The Snake and the Frog” is played by the manifestation of symbols and mythologemes of the Ophites, which function at multiple structural levels: at the motif level – as elements and twists of the plot, at the eidological level – as literary allegoric images. That is why, in order to provide an in-depth interpretation, the search for hidden meanings of symbols and allegories should be added to a thorough explanation of H. Skovorada’s fable “The Snake and the Frog”. The fable “The Snake and the Frog” is an incarnation of the character –archetype dialectics. The Snake-character is a specific incarnation of the general permeating invariant capable of generating variable modifications. The Snake is an archetype possessing a fixed image-producing and symbolic nucleus, which becomes the basis for character modifications. The main (archetypal) function of the Snake is to teach, to lead to the hidden wisdom. The Snake allegorically embodies the ideas of circling, rotation and cyclic returns. The emphasized allegoric exclusivity of the character amplifies the motifs of mystic calling and purpose, of which only the chosen ones can become aware. The analogies and associative likenings indicate H. Skovoroda’s stance on the positive role of the Snake in man’s destiny. The name of the main Ophitic symbol (the Ouroborus) is manifested in the fable “The Snake and the Frog” through an anagram, when letters and sounds scattered in the text may form a word-theme. The anagram reading makes it possible to look beyond the external verbal decorations and discover the hidden meaning. Thus, the allegoresis of this work leads to arguing that H. Skovoroda largely adopted the symbolic emblems and the mysterial cult of the Ophites. The symbol of the World Serpent (the Ouroboros) is formed and functions in H. Skovoroda’s philosophy and aesthetics as ambivalent. The combination of the Gnostic Ophite and Christian traditions enabled H. Skovoroda to emphasize the idea of duality of the main imagistic and symbolic chain of the concepts “eternity”, “circular”, “cosmogonic”.

Author Biography

Oleksandr Volkovynskyi, Kamianets-Podilsky Ivan Ohienko National University

Kamianets-Podilsky Ivan Ohienko National University

Іvan Ohienko St., 61, 32300, Kamianets-Podilsky, Ukraine


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How to Cite

Volkovynskyi, O. “The Allegoresis of H. Skovoroda’s Fable ‘The Snake and the Frog’ in the Context of Symbols and Mythologemes of the Ophites”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 89, Nov. 2014, pp. 178-92, doi:10.31861/pytlit2014.89.178.



Historical Poetics and History of Poetological Discourses