L'incomprensione tra gli amanti nel poema Khosrow e Širin di Neúàmi

  • Paola Orsatti


The poem Khosrow va Širin by Neúàmi(12th century) tells the tale of the love between the Sasanian sovereign Khosrow II Parviz (590-628 A. D.) and the beautiful Širin. It is a difficult amorous relationship in which, although the protagonists do nothing but talk, they do not understand each other. In the story the friction between the two lovers surfaces from the very beginning: Khosrow desires Širin, and Širin’s desire is equally strong; she concedes favours but then pulls back, thus increasing the young prince’s desire. The problem is heightened by their two different concepts of love: Khosrow represents the voice of nature, of carpe diem (or rather carpe florem); Širin, on the other hand, represents the voice of wisdom and reason. Before giving herself to him, only after the celebration of a lawful wedding, she wants Khosrow to regain his kingdom, which is threatened by a usurper. Khosrow flees to Byzantium where he marries – for purely political motives – Maryam, the daughter of the Byzantine emperor, and with the help of the latter wins back his kingdom. But even after the death of Maryam, when Širin expects to be called to court and married with all due ceremony, Khosrow tries to possess Širin outside the bonds of marriage.
The problem of a lawful wedding is a crucial point in the plot of the poem. Khosrow’s constant efforts to elude marriage to Širin are due to interference of the historical sources. Indeed Širin too is a historic character: she was Khosrow’s influential Christian wife. In NeÛÁmi’s poem, Širin’s Christian faith is concealed; but Khosrow’s resistance to marriage with her is probably an echo of the opposition that their union encountered in court circles and among the artistocracy, since Širin was a woman of humble origins, as well as being Christian. The way she defends her reputation and her good name can be seen as a reaction against the bad light in which she was portrayed in the historical sources. Neúàmi has skilfully made use of these sources in order to voice his concept of love, of passionate love, as a source of suffering and incomprehension between lovers but also as a cosmic force which permeates every aspect of life, and the most important experience in the poet’s life. At the same time he gives a thorough psychological analysis of the characters, unimaginable for those times.


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