Intellectuals as sacrificial heroes: a comparative study of Bahram Beyzaie and Wole Soyinka

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A study of Bahram Beyzaie and Wole Soyinka’s works reveals how in two disparate cultural settings, traditional structures and themes appear in modern forms to renegotiate people’s cultural identity. Both writers demythologize the ancient and modern superstitious beliefs that haunt their peoples, depict the fallacy of hybrid obsessions that distort everyday life in their countries, and mythologize the positive aspects of history to redefine cultural identity with the best their cultures offer. One aspect of this process is their depiction of creative intellectuals as sacrificial heroes. The form reveals their concern with the question of leadership and citizenship, the victimization of the educated people, and the resulting brain drain in their countries. In the paper that follows, I will compare Beyzaie and Soyinka’s depictions of intellectuals as sacrificial heroes. I will first study the dramatic origins of their forms and their approach to tragedy, myth, history, and sacrificial heroism, and explore the sociopolitical and personal reasons for the development of their forms. My intention is to discover how these forms evolved and why they reflect similar paradigms. I will then compare Beyzaie’s Parchment of Master Sharzin with Soyinka’s Madmen and Specialists to provide textual examples of these similarities and differences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-408
Number of pages30
JournalComparative Literature Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2015


  • Comparative Literature
  • Iranian Drama
  • Yoruba Culture and Drama
  • Iranian Cultural Studies
  • Comparative Cultural Stuides
  • Indigenous Performing traditions
  • Intellectuals
  • Leadership
  • Citizenship
  • Political drama


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