The Character of Bamsı Beyrek in “İç Oğuza Taş Oğuz Asi Olup Beyrek Öldüğü Boy” and the Functional Model of Thematic StructureRuşen Alizade
Bamsı Beyrek, a character described in the narrative concerning İç Oğuza Taş Oğuz Asi Olup Beyrek Öldüğü Boyu (“When Outer Oghuz mutinied against Inner Oghuz and Beyrek Died”) is of interest because his primary function in the epic, The Book of Dede Korkut, is mediation. This study is based on the two-layered thematic structure of the last boy (narrative) of the text. It applies the structural semantic methodology to the examination of the configuration and positioning of Beyrek’s character through a general analysis of the contrasts, contexts, rituals, and characters. The study determines that Beyrek’s actions are aligned to his mission, and that the status of some characters (Aruz and Kazan) alters after Beyrek is murdered. Thus, the ritual context of the position-altering function of this character is clearly defined. Beyrek’s positioning as shaman and wolf are also examined, and it is ascertained that he occupies the same semantic level as Korkut Ata. The study identifies the cult-based framework of the oppositions reflected in the thematic structure, restores the transformative elements of the topical construction, and discovers the functional model of the status changing ritual.
İç Oğuza Taş Oğuz Asi Olup Beyrek Öldüğü Boyu’nda Bamsı Beyrek Karakteri ve Tematik Yapının İşlevsel ModeliRuşen Alizade
Dede Korkut Kitabı’nın İç Oğuza Taş Oğuz Asi Olup Beyrek Öldügü Boyu’nda anlatılan Bamsı Beyrek karakteri, öncelikle arabuluculuk işlevine sahip olması açısından dikkat çekmektedir. Söz konusu sonuncu boydaki iki katmanlı tematik yapıya dayanılan bu çalışmada, yapısal-semantik yöntemin uygulanması ile Beyrek karakterinin yapısı ve statüleri irdelenmiş, genel olarak boydaki karşıtlık, bağlam, ritüel ve karakterler analiz edilmiştir. Çalışmada, Beyrek karakterinin misyonu doğrultusunda faaliyette bulunduğu, bu karakterin öldürülmesinin ardından boydaki bazı karakterlerin (Aruz ve Kazan’ın) sahip oldukları yeni statüler tespit edilmiştir. Aynı zamanda, Beyrek karakterinin statü değiştirici özelliğe sahip olduğu ve bu karakterin tematik yapının önemli unsuruna dönüşebildiği de açıklanmıştır. Beyrek’in vurgulanan dönüşüm sonrası ritüel bağlamda bulunabildiğine ilişkin hususlar değerlendirilmiş ve onun tematik yapının üst katmanında ölü, alt katmanında canlı bulunmasına neden olan etkenler tahlil süzgecinden geçirilmiştir. Bununla Beyrek karakterinin statü değiştirici işlevinin ritüel bağlamı net olarak belirlenmiştir. Beyrek’in şaman ve kurt statüleri ele alınıp incelenmiş, onun Korkut Ata ile aynı semantik düzeyde bulunabildiği tespit edilmiştir. Araştırmada, tematik yapıya yansıyan karşıtlığın kült bağlamı belirlenmiş, tematik yapıda bulunan dönüştürücü unsurların onarılmasına çalışılmış ve statü değişme ritüelinin işlevsel modeli bulunmuştur.
This study of the epic, The Book of Dede Korkut found that connections are formed between the positioning of characters such as Kazan Khan and Aruz Koca because of the functional nature of Beyrek’s characterization. It examines Beyrek’s murder in the twelfth and last boy (narrative) using semantic arguments that allow the determination of a ritual context to the characterization of Aruz and Kazan. The study also evaluates Beyrek’s place and role within this framework and explains that this character is also subject to a change of status along with other figures such as Kazan and Aruz. The highlighted transformation of Beyrek’s positioning is integrated with the function of mediation. The identification of Beyrek’s modifying function allows the disclosure of the ethno-ritual context of shamanism. Beyrek occupies a shamanistic status in the lower layers of the thematic structure and may be identified with the adventure reflected in the third boy of The Book of Dede Korkut, offering several important clues to its significations.
The study also discusses the hostility between Aruz Koca and Kazan Khan in terms of an internal problem of the Oghuz community. It states the inevitability of finding a meta-ethnos mediator to eliminate the prevailing difficulty and examines Beyrek in the context of a wolf cult, citing examples that elucidate the lupine cosmogonic connections in the qualities of this character. The characters of Beyrek and Korkut Ata are also compared, and it is demonstrated that Beyrek is the metaphorical equivalent of Korkut Ata’s personality. However, it is noted that wolf-specific features may be observed in both characters in contexts underlying the thematic structure of the epic. The article further comments on the ritual setting of the last boy and elucidates the ceremonial nature of the characters.
The existence of transformative elements between the two-layer thematic structures of the text is illuminated and examined through the archetype of the last boy. The transitional phases between these elements are also marked, highlighting that a retrospective methodology is the only applicable means of restoration. Applying this method, it becomes possible to gradually progress from the upper to the lower layer of the thematic structure, which can then be transferred to any context.
In this respect, the old context is present in the new setting in the form of reflections, but these reflections are also found to create oppositions in the new context. The article shows that the contrasts that achieve subtextual consistencies in the thematic structure of the last boy are reflected in the upper layer of the thematic structure as signs. The clarification of these highlighted signs is imperative for the restoration of the lower layer of the thematic structure. This reported framework allows observations to be effected on the basis of the most striking contrast reflected in the upper layer of the thematic structure, the dual positioning of Aruz and Kazan. It is contended that the subtextual is made visible in two aspects. First, the narrator attempts to sustain Kazan Khan’s image as a hero from the beginning to the end of the thematic structure; nevertheless, Kazan’s anti-hero status is revealed. Second, the narrator attempts to portray Aruz Koca as the anti-hero who destroyed Kalın Oghuz; however, Aruz’s heroic status is seen and inferred.
The present study determines that the transformative positioning of Beyrek’s character in the third and the last boy reflects varied contexts, but important structural elements are repeated through ritual, and Beyrek’s character assumes the position of mediacy. The article discusses the topical construction of the aspect of ritual in the lower layer of the thematic framework of the last boy and evinces the presence of a status changing ritual within this structure. The epic contrast is reflected on the thematic structure as a value-based opposition, and the ritual reinstated in six thematic contexts is actually a status changing ceremony. It is explicated that Oghuz Khan represents the figure that caused the formation of the first cosmogonic processes. Cosmogony is not comprised merely of universe-congenital elements but also the cosmogonic process. The concerned process is directly related to Oghuz Khan’s foundational role in the world and is associated with the modeling of the Oghuz cosmos in the texts that mention his name. The study ultimately reports that the world model labeled Üç Ok - Boz Ok (Three Arrows - Dun Arrow) was created by Oghuz Khan and was reinstated by the Oghuzs in the status changing ritual described in the last boy. It would be impossible to restore the Inner Oghuz-Outer Oghuz cosmos (world order) without grounding it in this model.