Vol. 14 (2020): XIV International Symposium Contemporary Issues of Literary Studies : The Silk Road Countries` Folklore
Myth, Ritual and Symbol in Folklore and Literature

Transformation/Metamorphosis of Enigma/Paradigm of A Serpent in Literary Texts

Nana Kutsia
Sokhumi State University
Marine Turava
Sokhumi State University

Published 2020-10-20


  • A Serpent,
  • Transformation/Metamorphosis,
  • Enigma


“A Serpent” is an ancient enigma/paradigm. A lot of times it was reflected in different artistical fields (music, painting, literature, plastic art…). Artists shared traditional interpretation generally, but in Georgian literature there are texts reflecting different position of writers. We have studied an interesting process and result of transformation of a serpent into “a kind being” in the following compositions: 1. the position fixed in untitled folk text found by a researcher Grigol Kiknadze (text of the Middle Ages); 2. a passage of hagiographical text by Giorgi Merchule “Saint Grigol Khandzteli Life” (ninth-tenth centuries);
3. a final episode of Vazha-Phshavela`s poem “Bakhtrioni” (nineteenth century); 4. a concept of Otar Chkheidze`s novel “Amaghleba” (“Rise”).

Each of the mentioned texts is a literary reflection of concret historical epoch and concepts as well as Rustaveli credo – “Devil is defeated by Kind.” A serpent changes/reverts its nature created by the Lord God (“God looked at everything, He had made, and He was very pleased with what He saw” (Genesis 1, 31), because everything was kind. “The huge dragon was thrown out – that ancient serpent named the Devil or Satan, that deceived the whole world” (Revelation 12, 9). The serpent is transformed – it is kind again – as well as in the beginning of Ages. Its name is “The Kind Serpent” again as the first christians called Jesus (Tertullian) who expiated the sin… “The last enemy to be defeated will be Death” (1 Corinthians 15, 26) (Zurab Kiknadze, “The End of “Bakhtrioni”).

This unbelievable metamorphosis is reflected in folklore, hagiography, neo-romantism/ modernism as well as in postmodernism. An inspirator of transformation/metamorphosis is an innocent and brave human being (Saint Grigol Khandzteli, Lukhum, Ghvtiso).