Ferdowsi-Shahname

Ferdowsi/Shâhnâme

Background
-very long poem
-heroic tales from Iran’s history/mythology
-begins with creation of the world
-Rostrám, one of the great heroes, dies 2/3rds through the epic
-earliest stories date back twenty-five hundred years ago
-underlying belief that Iran will only last under the rule of divinely chosen shahs

The Tragedy of Sohráb and Rostám

Starts with Rostam waking sad at heart
-goes to hunt
-catches and eats many onagers whole (bone and all)
-Rostam’s horse (the only one able to carry his weight) is stolen by Turkish
Goes to Semengan
-welcomed/partied
-Tahmine (princess of Semengan) visits Rostam in his sleep
-implores three reasons they should get together:
1. she longs for him
2. she could bear him a son
3. she will bring his horse back to him
-he slept with her & gave her a family heirloom the next day to give if there was to be a child
-his horse was found that morning
-9 months later gave birth to Sohrab
Sohrab’s birth
-grew a year in one month
-by age 5, mastered the javelin and bow
-at 10, curious of father after realizing height and strength unmatchable
-talks to overthrow Kavus, to give to Rostam (father)
-believes fate to wear a crown and wants to overthrow shah Afrasiyab
Afrasiyab hears of Sohrab’s plan, and immediately decides to set father against son
-Sohrab faces Hojir and wins easily, spars his life and takes him captive
-all of Turan was fearful because strongest warrior taken captive
-Gordafarid (only woman hero in Shahnaname) goes to avenge Hojir
-Sohrab strikes her, and captures her for her beauty
-she says she could never marry him & Rostam will kill him
Gazhdaham (Gorafarid’s father) sends warning to Shah Kay Kavus to prepare for battle
-Kavus (Iran’s shah) writes a letter to suck up to Rostam
-Rostam does not think it is Sohrab because his letters with Tahmine suggest he is still a boy-like figure
-they drank for three days and decided it was time to go help
-Kavus is mad that they are late and wants them hanged
-Gudarz (Kuvas military leader) stated they needed Rostam
-Gudrarz fetches Rostam, tells him that Kuvas was being an idiot and begs him return
-they make peace and drink that night
Time for war
-Rostam spies on the Turkish camps and kills the one person that could identify him
-Hojir does not identify Rostam out of fear, and Sohrab slays him
-Rostam concealed his own identity (…why?)
The First Battle
-they faught, then rested, tried to use bows, tried to wrestle, the rested, Sohrab pulls out his mace and strikes Rostam in the shoulder
Rest for the next day
-Rostam says that Sohrab is brutal in strength and that he will have to try hand combat
-Rostam tells his brother, Zavare, that if he does not survive battle, not to seek revenge but to console his mother… Stoic in facing death
-Sohrab thinks that the man he faced was his father, but Human replied that although it appeared to be him, it did not look like as though that was his horse
The Second day of Battle
-Sohrab asks Rostam again who he is and tries to be cordial and disengage, Rostam tells him that they must fight hand to hand
-Sohrab throws Rostam to the ground and gets ready to behead him
-Rostam says he must throw him down twice before earning the right to cut his head off
-When Sohrab told Human of this encounter, Human said it was foolish to let him live and it would likely be the death of him for letting Rostam escape
The Death of Sohrab
-Rostam throws down Sohrab and cuts his chest with a dagger
-Sohram says that his father Rostam will avenge his death
-Rostam sees the jewelry that he bestowed to his child at birth, and cries
-Sohrab tells him not to fill himself with grief because this was meant to be his fate
-Sohrabs dying wish was to let the Turks flee in peace since it was he who stirred them to battle
-Rostam attempts to take his life, but is adviced against it because it will not undo the wrong
Rostam Mourns Sohrab
-Rostam questions what he will tell everyone concerning his deed
-he takes Sohrab to be buried in royal robes
Bahram told him not to search for the meaning of his son’s death

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