"Faith and Resignation" (Soren Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling")

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Søren Kierkegaard earns the classification of an existentialist by rebelling against the common view of Hegel's universal moral system. Kierkegaard contends that one may not choose for an individual; they choose for themselves. Suspending the moral system, Kierkegaard reflects upon the force on a suffering individual to choose based on the depth of the absurd. Within Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard distinguishes between responses to afflicted situations: that of the knight of resignation and the knight of faith.

An individual can be a ethical person, doing that which is right, to become a

knight of infinite resignation, but until one gives himself up to the absurd, one cannot become a knight of faith. The knight of resignation seeks an ethical universal purpose; his actions serve the greater good of the state. He "understands the universal and everyone who understands him understands the universal through him in turn" (103). Committed to their good, this knight receives moral credibility from his people.

The knight of resignation resigns the finite for the infinite. A response to an unobtainable love, or similar situation, by this knight is to renounce the flesh relationship for "eternal validity" (75). Rather than hoping for the unreachable, the knight of resignation elevates the relationship to allow himself the ability to move on.

Following the path of resignation, the knight of faith takes one step further. Having resigned and denounced his ability to obtain his loving relationship, he regains all back with faith. On the surface, the knight of faith looks as everyone else. However, he holds the ability to find the "sublime in the pedestrian" (70). With faith, the knight is able to recognize grandeur in the finite. The knight of faith "...says 'I nevertheless believe that I shall get her, namely on the strength of the absurd, on the...