Questioning of Stable Gender Roles in Tawfiq Al-Hakim’s The Song of Death
Keywords:Gender, Masculinity, Tradition, Islamic Culture, Conflict, Gender Role.
This paper is a critique of conventional gender roles in Tawfiq Al-Hakim’s The Song of Death. The research presents Hakim’s challenge to the masculinity especially in Arabian Islamic culture that is guided by revengeful motive of mother. Being a woman, Asakir is guided by the patriarchal motif of revenge i.e., an eye for an eye. It is Asakir, a widow who ironically thinks that version of masculinity has to be preserved by her in order to do so she makes her son Ilwan take revenge on his father’s murderer but in vain. Ilwan is represented as one of the modernists guided by social norms, decorum and laws. In order to critique the conventional notion of masculinity, the research makes use of theoretical insights of Judith Butler, Judith Halberstam and some ideas from others. Finally, the research concludes that Hakim is critical of conventional masculinity. The mother is presented as a strong advocate of masculinity but her failure at the end of the play ironically displays the implacability of gender-based roles in modern society like that of Cairo.
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