How Strong is the oath?

Keywords: Oath. Curse. Perjury. Assis. Agamben.


There are hundreds of readings of Machado de Assis classic work Dom Casmurro. We do not seek here to analyze the readings of this works. We start from an interpretation that is based on Giorgio Agamben’s thinking (The sacrament of language) dealing with the problem of fate/oath/perjury/curse. It will be justified throughout the text because the choice of Assisi’s work for an analysis of what Agamben brings to us. We will show that Dom Casmurro’s central theme, in essence, is the issue of oath/perjury. What intrigues us is: is it a comedy or a tragedy?

Author Biography

Ronaldo Filho Manzi, FACMAIS

Doutor em Filosofia (USP/RUN). Pós-doutor em Filosofia (USP). Pós-doutor em Psicologia Social (USP). Pós-doutorando em Educação (PUC-GO). Psicanalista.


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______. O sacramento da linguagem – Arqueologia do juramento. Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 2011.

ASSIS, Machado de. Dom Casmurro. São Paulo: Globo, 1997.

AUSTIN, J. L. How to do things with words. Cambridge; Massachusetts: Havard University Press, 1975.