Epic Elements in Simin Behbahani's GHAZAL
The use of epic elements is one of the features of today's ghazall. Simin
Behbahani is a poet who has paid special attention to this. He uses rhetorical
elements such as exaggerations and blessings to describe the phenomena of
nature in terms of specific epic and warfare. The simplicity of likeness in
Behbahani's sonnets and the use of epic compatible pseudo-shapes reinforces
her epic tune of her sonnets; besides, the use of magnificent and magnificent
puzzles affects this. Also, Behbahani sometimes expresses the epic themes of
his sonnets, with the proper use of reverberant weights. The poet's Irandosty
has led him to give special attention to the myths of ancient Iran. In his
sonnets, the battle with the evil forces and the Divan can be seen and there are
references to the mythical and epic characters. Sometimes myths such as
Rustam and Zahak have been shown in a different way from their original.
Keywords: Epic, Behbahani, Ghazal.
16 Persian Language and Literature, Vol. 71, Issue 238, Fall & Winter 2018- 2019
Epic is one of the earliest literary genres. Some scholars believe that
nowadays the period of epic poetry has come to an end; this claim is
not aberrant, because epic poetry is glorified on a special social base
and only if that foundation is procured, an individual endeavor or a
political support could lead somewhere. However, some of the elements
in epic poetry are noticeable in contemporary poems and odes.
Nevertheless the content of epic poetry is so vast and copious that one
cannot claim that the epic and ode are the same thing. To illustrate these
matters, the best kind of poetry is Masnavi (a poetic rhym form almost
like couplets). The reason is that poets do not have to cope with the
difficulties of rhyming while composing poems in this form and are able
to recite thousands of lines, while ode is too short to entail epic stories.
To describe these cases, Masnavi is the most appropriate poetic
form. Because poets do not get caught up when they compose this form
of poetry and compose thousands of lines but ode is so short that there
is no room for dealing with epic stories. The matters discussed in ode
in classical literature mostly deal with love and mysticism, so in the
categorization of literary genres, they are considered as lyric poetry.
Despite this fact, from very old times the elements of epic poetry is
noticeable in ode. Epic is defined as the conflict of antagonists. This
conflict in mysticism and in ode is depicted as an inner struggle of an
individual with himself and is the most common form of emanation of
epic in classic ode. After constitutionalism, the Iranian society has
undergone many political and social changes. Fundamental changes in
education and some people’s familiarity with other cultures have led to
apparition of newfangled values such as freedom and justice, and
resulted in protest against political system. Reflections of these protests
can be seen in constitutional poets. In Pahlavi’s era, the protests were
divulged more than before and the known poets of the era, most of
whom were modernizers, recited poetry with collectivist and opposing
tendencies. Gradually the conflict between modernized poets and
leaders created a new form of epic which was not that much common
in the past. Most of the modernist poets such as Nima, Shamloo and
Akhavan considered poetry a social function beside their concentration
on creativity and aesthetic aspect of poetry .They used it as a means to
declare their socio-political objections; this continued to be the case
until the Islamic revolution. After the revolution, poets mostly
employed classical forms, like ode, to declare the epics during
Epic Elements in Behbahani's Ghazal 17
revolution and exigent war; the thorough revolutionary excitement and
the noticeable increase of the audience can be counted as the reasons.
These audience, unlike the more specific audience of the modern
poetry, are more accustomed to traditional forms and as a result are
more likely among those people who connect mostly with odes. From
now on, epic isn’t restricted just too mystical odes or inner conflict of
the poet. The poets of modern world watch human ideals in an outer
domain. And in accordance with the alternations of the age, they fight
with admonitions such as autocracy, injustice, enormity and invasion.
Simin Behbahani is one of the contemporary poetesses whose works
carry an epic tone. The influence of her work on the literary flow of
odes is undeniable. She elicited a new look from this form by
fabricating new rhymes in order to bring up new debates. Romanticism
was bold in her early works. It appeared mostly in the form of personal
apprehensions like love issues which also took social deductions on
couplets. We face cases like women who turn toward degeneration or
the tears of a student who is fed up with poverty and misery. These
poems are thematically remonstrant but they contain an inactive and
accordant tone. She does not convey romantic sighs after writing the
book "A line of speed and fire". Instead, her odes start to deliver an epic
tone. Since then all her work has been in epic language, a language that
belongs to herself.
The aim of this research is to investigate the elements which
influenced the epic tone in Behbahani's work.
Behbahani has paid attention to epic elements in many of her odes. In
order to do that she has used factors like exaggeration, description, myth
Her use of exaggeration is not simply limited to physical powers,
just unlike the exaggeration in the old poems. The ability of her heroes
is not simply because of facing enemies like Dragons or crossing
impracticable roads one after another. These heroes contend with
cruelty and scarify themselves for ideals like equality and freedom.
Based on the fact that epic is elicited from myth, she has benefited
from the myth of the ancient Iran in her works. For instance, characters
like Zahhak, Rostam, Simorgh and deev have a considerable presence
in her work but her approach is completely different from the previous
methods. Her conceptions are sometimes so creative that the myth is
18 Persian Language and Literature, Vol. 71, Issue 238, Fall & Winter 2018- 2019
even depicted completely inversely. This can be related directly to the
transformation of the social ideals and values. Simplicity in applying
simile for subjects like intrepidity, greatness, resilience and solidity in
Behbahani's works has strengthened the epic tones of her odes. The
correct practice of Simile vehicles was also beneficial.
There are also other methods to an epic tone like applying very
rhythmic rhymes. Behbahani is a master of new and rare rhymes and
she uses the meaning of some rhymes to create epic tones.
Sometimes the epic elements are applied in Behbahani's work just the
way they were in old literature. Depicting tools like swords, daggers
and arrows in order to describe the nature is an example. In some cases,
she even uses a new method in articulating epic subjects like using very
rare rhymes just to keep up with the epic tone of the poems.
Glorifications that she mentions in her works are not used in order
to prove personal superiorities, but to imply epic and social purposes.
Besides, Behbahani sometimes depicts myths like Rostam or Zahhak
inversely. This could alone be indicative of the differences of the social
background of the poem compared to the old times.