Rostam's Seven Trials and the Logic of Epic Narrative in the Shahnama

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Date: June 2001
From: Asian Folklore Studies(Vol. 60, Issue 2)
Publisher: Nanzan University
Document Type: Article
Length: 16,214 words

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Abstract :

This paper revisits the episode of Rostam's seven trials in Persian literary and folk traditions, and his slaying of the White Demon. It takes issue with Noldeke's interpretation of the demon as a survival of an ancient "white deity" and instead suggests that the demon represents Rostam's "albino" father, Zal. Rostam's fight with the demon is analyzed as an Oedipal conflict in which the hero overcomes and kills the "bad father" in a cave. It proposes that the tale is a coming-of-age narrative in which the hero achieves individuation and independence. Several oral versions of the tale, and one version from a professional storyteller's nineteenth-century manuscript, are presented in translation for the purpose of comparison with the literary version. Keywords: Persian epic-Persian folk literature--Shahnama--father-son combat--psychoanalytic interpretation of folklore

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A85241365