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Rostam and Sohrab in Tousi’s “Shahnameh”

The culture of any country, be it its language or whichever dimension ought to be preserved. In his poem Shahnameh, Ferdowsi Tousi, a culture conservative, sets to revive the different civilizations and myths of the Iranian people. Before the emergence of Islam, the Iranians followed the Zoroastrian religious sect and all their values were bound to it. Owing to this, they conversed using the Farsi language.

The entry of the Islam affected a good portion of their culture following the influence it (Islam) had of the then people. Among the affected was their Farsi language since the Quran which the Muslims used in their teachings only used the Arabic language. Following this language confusion, poets like Ferdowsi were worried of the disappearance of the Farsi language. This formed his major reason for composing his Shahnameh poem that sought to revive the deteriorating language.

The Orientals of then believed in mould and fate. They related human’s mould to their fate and according to them; this fate cannot be a non reasonable explanation of anything. This philosophy of the Orientals which is persuaded to both mould and fate, has been repeated quite a number of times in Ferdowsi’s poem Shahnameh as a stress that while human mould affects his environment, where he/she grows up and gets used to, fate on the other hand is a part and parcel of human nature and is not influenced by the environment but the prevailing religion of the people. This effect is evident in Ferdowsi’s poem and is based on his interaction with the Arab’s religion and culture, which by all means he cannot avoid.

Sohrab, who is a character in this poem that is actually representing Ferdowsi’s ideas, clearly understands the role of fate and mould. He has learnt this from his mother Tahmineh, who during Sohrab’s childhood, used to sing for him lullabies as well as narrating for him stories. The mother says, “Hear my words, oh my son and be glad in thine heart, neither give way in thy spirit in anger…” (Ferdowsi).

This depicts the mother’s efforts of teaching her child, Sohrab. Therefore, as a child, he believed and trusted and even wrote these teachings in his heart. As a result, when Rostan defeats Sohrab, he turns to him reminding him facts about fate and mould. For instance, he says, “kin az man bar man Resid” (Ferdowsi), which means that this happened based on his own account and it’s the result of his own behaviour and fate.

Since the Mould on study is no more than genes, it changes following the effect of many factors. This is the case for Sohrab and Rostan. They initially had the same mould, but following their different locations, Iran and Touran, they differ and behave differently in this quarrel. During the first time, Sohrab is predicted the winner, in a position to kill Rostam but this is not the case. Rostam begs for a second chance, which he gets but when his time to give Sohrab a chance, he refuses and Sohrab terms it as his own fate. He says,” Zamaneh be dast e to dadam kelid” (Ferdowsi), where ‘Zamaneh’ refers to a fate sent by Rostam to kill him. This is in accordance with the ancient Iranians notion that every person is born with a duty to accomplish after which he/she dies.

Rostam is counted innocent based on the humped back old woman. This is viewed as equivocate since he is born by the world, which in turn makes him pass away sooner than he expects. He declares, “zin bi gonahi ke in goozjposht mara bar keshid o be zoody bekoshtGoozjposht” (Ferdowsi). In the poem means “Donya” and “Donya” in Farsi means an ugly old woman. The similarity between this old woman and the Earth is that, the old woman has had a long life and that it has been a long time since the Earth became into existence. All the mountains are likened to the old woman’s face shrinkages. And now that she is this old, she lacks any form of kindness in her heart and nothing can make her sad or happy. In addition, there is symbolization between this old woman and Rostam, because Rostam is old as well.

But in contrast with Sohrab, who has a young heart which is like a bright mirror, he is not really dependent on this world. On the other hand, Rostam’s heart gets old as times goes by and he is really dependent on this world and does not want to leave it, though nothing can have an influence on his heart. This part is repeated in the Beyt number 906 where Sohrab is telling his father that he tried to tell him who he is and this makes Rostam feel for him but nothing ever changes.

In conclusion, it is evident that at the end of this part of Shahnameh, there is a happy Nostalgia where Sohrab asks his father to be kind to the Touranian people by avoiding getting into a war with them, which is not the same as the other parts of the Shahnameh, sad Nostalgia dominates.

Works Cited

Ferdowsi, Hakim. “Rostam and Sohrab”. Web.

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StudyKraken. (2022, March 21). Rostam and Sohrab in Tousi’s “Shahnameh”.

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"Rostam and Sohrab in Tousi’s “Shahnameh”." StudyKraken, 21 Mar. 2022,

1. StudyKraken. "Rostam and Sohrab in Tousi’s “Shahnameh”." March 21, 2022.


StudyKraken. "Rostam and Sohrab in Tousi’s “Shahnameh”." March 21, 2022.


StudyKraken. 2022. "Rostam and Sohrab in Tousi’s “Shahnameh”." March 21, 2022.


StudyKraken. (2022) 'Rostam and Sohrab in Tousi’s “Shahnameh”'. 21 March.

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