Despair in Choice: Kierkegaard and the Undertaking of Despair

Open Access
Powell, William Manning
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Vincent M Colapietro, Thesis Supervisor
  • John Philip Christman, Honors Advisor
  • Kierkegaard
  • Fear and Trembling
  • The Sickness Unto Death
  • faith
  • despair
  • Abraham
This project’s main goal is to take two distinct and separate works of the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and view them in light of one distinct idea. Namely, that despair is a choice and that this choice is necessary for faith. In Fear and Trembling, this choice is made by Abraham in his trial on Mount Moriah, to sacrifice his son for God. In The Sickness Unto Death, despair is again deciphered as an individual choice that ultimately lies in the hands of the individual to make, and that faith ultimately comes of willing to be oneself in relation to the absolute. This relation of the individual to the absolute is a common theme between these two different works, and it highlights the despair in choosing oneself knowing fully the paradox that is true faith in God.