In Naguib Mahfouz’s novel “The Thief and The Dogs” the concept of freedom is conveyed much more differently than the understanding of freedom in a modern society. This is mostly caused by the politics and economy in the era along with the understanding of honor and characteristics behaviors to gain that honor.
The novel begins with Said being released from prison after four wasted years. He knows that he has been betrayed by his friends and wife at that time; causing him get imprisoned. He plans on taking revenge and will not consider himself as free unless he has taken the revenge he wants to. The four years without Sana, his daughter, have changed his imagination of freedom. His concept of freedom has changed to a life with Sana. He does not care how but he only wants to get rid of Nabawiyya and Ilish. By this way he assumes that he can gain the trust of his daughter and establish his imagined freedom. He also questions killing Nabawiyya, since he does not want his daughter to look to him as a murderer of her mother. He certainly loves Sana more than everything but he does not realize that he cannot gain her with illegal acts to dishonored people.
Said, also sees the betrayal of his man as his loss of honor. His understanding of revenge though, in his thoughts, will both gain him back his honor and his daughter Sana. However, during the past four years all of his men, including Nabawiyya and Ilish, have established a life that has no place for him. Their understanding of freedom and honor have drastically changed and turned into more legal ways.
Interestingly, the novel takes place in Egypt, where robbers are seen as common people and are honored by many medium classed men. They see robbers, men like Robin Hood helping the poor and establishing equilibrium. In the novel both Tarzan and Nur are examples to that. Both honor Said and are loyal to him. This has to do with their class though. Before, all his men were the same