Rostam and Esfandiyar

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In the heroic epic of “Rostam and Esfandiyar”, we witness the battle of two of Iran’s greatest mythological heroes. Though these principal adversaries have much respect for each other, they have specific motivations that force them to fight. Esfandiyar’s ambitious attitude combined with Rostam’s own desire to fight, lead to an unavoidable confrontation that ultimately ends in Esfandiyar’s death. Esfandiyar initially complains to his mother about the failure of his father, Goshtasp, to keep the promise of making him king. While in his drunkenness, Esfandiyar threatens his father from the throne if he does not follow through with his promise. Even though he knows what his son is speaking of, Goshtasp is unwilling to abandon the throne. He visits his royal astrologers to learn about the fate of his son and discovers that the only individual with the power to kill his son is the leader Rostam. Goshtasp’s villainous desires convince him to order Esfandiyar to shackle Rostam and bring the hero back to the Persian court on foot. His hopes being that Rostam will not accept this humiliation and will kill Esfandiyar. Once this fate has been determined, it is impossible for Esfandiyar to do much to avoid his death. Being blind of his abilities and his fate, Esfandiyar is motivated to defeat Rostam. The reward of his father’s throne supersedes the risk of death. He confronts Rostam who refuses to be in chains, as he sees it to be too demeaning. Rostam repeatedly tries to talk Esfandiyar out of a confrontation but despite this, the two men engage in battle. Rostam kills Esfandiyar by throwing an arrow at his eyes; the only vulnerable part of his body. Goshtasp is responsible for the death of his own son and because of this he is labeled as the villain. Although many argue there is no real hero in this epic story, I consider Esfandiyar’s persistent obedience of his father’s challenges despite the lack of respect from Goshtasp as an attitude only heroes can...
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