European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies (EJELLS)

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An Aristotelian Narratological Reading of Rumi’s Masnavi-Ma’navi (Published)

Narratology is one of the theories that study the narrative and narrative structure to reveal some deeper and hidden aspects of ancient and contemporary texts. Research into the narratological study of ancient Persian stories, particularly tales of Rumi’s Masnavi-Ma’navi, is limited primarily to theories of Twentieth Century narratologists such as Genette, Kenan, and Chatman with regard to different dimensions such as temporality of narrative, excluding Aristotle’s theories on plot. While plot constitutes one of the important narratological terms in literary criticism, it is necessary to study its role in Rumi’s tales. There are just two studies, by Tavakoli and Bamashki, who had drawn upon Aristotle’s ideas about an effective plot in Masnavi Ma’navi. Nevertheless, their studies cease to realize that the Aristotelian concepts of peripeteia and anagnorisis are properly applicable to Rumi’s classical narrative poetry. Hence, this study presents a narratological study of the interior plot of the selected stories from Masnavi-Ma’navi, namely “The merchant and the parrot,” “The snake and the snake-catcher,” and “Students and their teacher,” in the light of the two Aristotelian concepts.

Keywords: Anagnorisis., Aristotle’s Poetics, Masnavi-Ma’navi, Narratology, Peripeteia, Plot, Rumi


This paper foregrounds the notion of dynamic protagonist in Festus Iyayi’s two novels. Idemudia and Iyere are seen as protagonists of dynamism whose volte-face as the plots unfold is orchestrated by their new experience, knowledge and maturity. Idemudia who starts off as an idealist with rose tinted spectacles fashioned from the mill of inexperience later becomes a life-beaten but introspective realist who has come to appreciate that life’s sacrifices come in different forms. Similarly, Osime Iyere who initially sees humanity in the federal troops and undiluted savagery on the Biafran side during the civil war later comes to see the two sides in the war as nothing but murderers and rapists of defenceless civilians. His contention, therefore, is that the war is actually a huge conspiracy of the blood-sucking bourgeoisie on both sides against the masses in general who can only be saved by a neutral third army with membership from both sides. In conclusion, the paper states that by artistically placing the two protagonists in the two novels where their experiences invest them with the correct education toward combating the oppressive alienating disorder in the society Iyayi’s thesis is clear: the masses must be correctly educated about the nature of the society in order to wage a meaningful war against its crushing lopsidedness.

Keywords: Bourgeoisie, Dynamism, Masses, Plot, Protagonists, Society

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