Summary of The Song of Death
The Song of Death is the presentation of the lives of two peasant women and their boys from a hamlet in Upper Egypt. The drama is about Asakir, the lead character, who is determined to exact revenge for her husband’s murder. After her husband was killed, she discreetly sent her little son Alwan, who was only two years old, to live and study in Cairo. She stays in her town for seventeen years in the hope that her son will return and exact retribution on the killer Suweilam Tawahi. She gives her son Alwan a backpack and a knife when he gets there. She describes how her husband was killed and expresses her desire for her kid to get revenge.
Alwan directly rejects his mother’s request after learning of her intentions. He explains why he is visiting his village. He does not want to murder someone he has not seen. He confronts his mother, accusing her of following the wrong customs while living her life. Alwan has grown more devout and no longer wants to commit murder in accordance with his mother’s wishes. Asakir feels quite irate and believes his son’s function is pointless. Asakir instructs Sumeida to assassinate Alwan with the same knife as soon as he boards the train towards the station. After killing Alwan, Sumeida loudly performs the death song. Asakir finally expresses sadness.
About the Author
Tawfiq al-Hakim or Tawfik el-Hakim (October 9, 1898 – July 26, 1987) was a prominent Egyptian writer and visionary. He is one of the pioneers of Arabic novels and drama. The triumphs and failures that are represented by the reception of his enormous output of plays are emblematic of the issues that have confronted the Egyptian drama genre as it has endeavoured to adapt its complex modes of communication to Egyptian society.
Each film or book in the Final Destination series uses a musical composition called A Song of Death to presage Death. This tune is typically an already-existing pop culture song. Death would influence one thing to cause another thing, like a radio, to start playing music. Another reoccurring topic in the film is Songs of Death. The music may not always make it through the scripting stage, but it still serves the same function, just less effectively. The music is usually picked for a reason since it frequently makes reference to the type of opening disaster in each movie.
Detail Analysis of The Song of Death
Tawfiq Al-Hakim, a well-known Egyptian writer, wrote “The Song of Death,” a one-act play. Hope, envy, treachery, and retribution are among the themes explored in this drama. This drama is about Asakir, a peasant lady, and her lifetime resolve, which is shattered at the end of the play. At the start of the play, two Upper-Egyptian peasant ladies, Asakir and Mabrouka, sit in solitude, listening for the whistle of a train. These two women are looking forward to seeing Alwan (Asakir’s son), who has been absent for 17 years. Asakir has discreetly sent him to Cairo for his studies.
They both quietly discuss Alwan’s identity. Asakir is optimistic about her son’s identity remains hidden. When she questions Mabrouka about the secrecy of this topic, Mabrouka informs her sister that the villagers are aware that Alwan drowned and died in the water well when he was two years old.
Later, Asakir tells Mabrouka that her son would soon get retribution. The villagers will soon discover that her son, or the son of her deceased husband, is still alive. She has been counting down the hours till her son arrives for seventeen years. Her dread, she claims, has passed, and the killer of his father, as well as the rest of the Tahawis, should now fear her son’s vengeance.
Asakir dispatched Sumeida (Mabrouka’s son) to the station with the command to sing upon Alwan’s arrival. When the whistle of the leaving train is heard, Sumeida’s singing can be heard in the distance, indicating the long-awaited arrival of Alwan. Sumeida enters the room, bringing his cousin Alwan with him. Asakir, Alwan’s mother, welcomes him as he walks in. Then Alwan greets his aunt Mabrouka. “Our hope is in you,” Mabrouka says as she exits the room with her kid Sumeida.
Asakir initiates a brief polite discussion before presenting a saddlebag to her son Alwan. She’s had the saddlebag for the past seventeen years. She tells her son that her father’s body was transported to her in the saddlebag of a donkey. She also gives her son the murderer’s knife, which is stained with blood. She had saved the blood-splattered knife in the past.
After a brief pause, Alwan inquires about the perpetrator of this atrocity. Asakir tells him the truth about Suweilam Tahawi without hesitation. Suweilam Tahawi, she claims, murdered his father seventeen years ago. When Alwan questions how she knows all of this, she answers that the entire town does. Alwan afterwards inquires about the inquiry into his father’s murder. Except for Tahawis, Asakir claims that they have no adversaries. Her son Alwan plans to exact revenge on Tahawis.
Alwan confronts his mother, claiming that she is unaware of the bad customs. He assures his mother that he has not gone to the village to exact revenge or to kill someone he has not seen. He expresses his determination to visit his village. He desires to improve the lives of all his villagers. He requires all of his residents to dwell in human-sized homes where animals are not allowed to sleep. They will enjoy a higher quality of life if they have access to education and safe drinking water.
Asakir feels quite annoyed by her son’s formal language. Alwan is told to leave her home by her. She berates him for his rage. She believes his viewpoint to be pointless. Alwan informs his mum that he will head back to Cairo before heading to the train station. He asks God to quell his mother’s angry spirit. When Sumeida walks in, Asakir is by himself and unmoving. Hearing Alwan’s comments, she is astounded. Her son Alwan came back to the station, she tells Sumeida. She claims that Alwan wishes to escape the obligation of exacting retribution on his father.
She begins repeatedly stroking herself. Sumeida is impatient and searches for his aunt’s actions. He makes every effort to prevent her from hurting herself. Sumeida must give Asakir the same old knife so she may stab her in the stomach. Sumeida informs his aunt that she is crazy. “Sumeida—are you a man?” she says as she fixes her gaze on him. When Sumeida inquires as to what she requires of him, she commands him to take the knife and stab her son Alwan in the chest. She says something that shocks Sumeida. She, however, exhorts him to murder his cousin.
With firm determination, Asakir offers the same knife to Sumeida, praying “May his blood wipe off his father’s blood that has crusted on the blade.” Sumeida exits the room with a knife and promises to raise his voice in the song coming from the district office if he succeeds in killing Alwan. Mabrouka then appears with a salted fish for Alwan. She finds Asakir alone in his seat. When she asks about Alwan, Asakir responds that Alwan has gone, unwilling to carry out his responsibility to exact revenge for the death of his father. She mentions Alwan has died. She has a kind of fear on her face. Mabrouka becomes restless to find her different in her facial appearance.
Asakir responds to her inquiry concerning her son Sumeida by stating that he had followed Alwan to the station in an effort to prevent him from leaving. Mabrouka doesn’t hear Asakir’s question concerning Sumeida’s music. When Mabrouka begs Asakir to pay attention to her, Asakir yells that she can’t hear her. Mabrouka finally hears Sumeida singing. She turns and, horrified at her sister’s condition, cries out in terror, wanting to know what is going on. “My Son!” Asakir shouts out in a loud voice. Asakir gets really depressed.
Asakir expresses her desire for her kid to boarding the train in this conversation with Mabrouka. The drama concludes with Asakir’s sorrow, but Simeida’s song confirms the passing of her son Alwan.
Exercise of The Song of Death
How does the play begin?
The play begins with the scene of two peasant women sitting at the entrance of the house in Upper Egypt. These two women are in black dresses and sitting in silence with their heads lowered.
Why has Asakir sent her only son to live in Cairo after her husband’s murder? Does he fulfil her wish after his return?
Asakir sent her only son to live in Cairo after her husband’s murder because she has expected revenge from his son against his father’s murderer after his return. No, he doesn’t fulfil her wish after his return. He refuses his mother’s wish to kill the person who killed his father.
Why doesn’t Alwan want to kill his father’s murderer?
Alwan has become a devout man as a result of his education at Al Azhar, thus he does not wish to kill the guy who killed his father. He hasn’t seen the individual and doesn’t wish to exact revenge or murder them. He confronts his mother, claiming that she adheres to incorrect customs out of ignorance.
Who is Sumeida? Why does Asakir urge him to kill his cousin?
Asakir, the central figure, has a nephew named Sumeida. He is Mabrouka’s child. Alwan is persuaded to kill his cousin by Asakir after she expresses her displeasure at Alwan’s refusal to get revenge on the person who killed his father. She believes Alwan’s viewpoint to be pointless. Alwan rejects Asakir’s lifetime vow of vengeance against Tahawis. The play ends with the death of Asakir’s son Alwan as well as her grief. She becomes quite sad after the death of her only son Alwan.
Reference to the Context
Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow. Asakir: Alwan. Plunge this knife into his chest!
Sumeida: Kill Alwan? Your son?
Asakir: Yes, kill him, bring him to his death.
Sumeida: Be sensible, Aunt!
Asakir: Do it, Sumeida–for my sake and for his!
Sumeida: For his?
Asakir: Yes, it is better for him and for me for it to be said that he was killed than that he shirked taking vengeance for his father.
a) What is Asakir asking Sumeida to do?
⇒Asakir is asking Sumeida to kill his cousin Alwan.
b) Who is Alwan?
⇒Alwan is Asakir’s only son who has spent his seventeen years in Cairo away from his village.
c) Why does Asakir urge Sumeida to kill Alwan?
⇒Sumeida is advised by Asakir to assassinate Alwan because she believes Alwan’s viewpoint to be pointless. Alwan refuses to carry out her vengeful lifelong vow to Tawahis.
The Setting of the Play
This play has presented a rural setting of a village in Upper Egypt. The play has mainly focused on a set of a peasant house in a peasant village in Upper Egypt during the early 20th century. The whole play has been presented in the house as well as the room of the main character Asakir, a widowed peasant.
Character of Asakir
Asakir, a peasant who is widowed, resides in her hamlet in Upper Egypt’s rural region. She has been waiting seventeen years to carry out her vow of revenge, but she is an optimistic lady. She makes it her life’s mission to put an end to her longstanding family quarrel.
Her spouse had been slain in the past by Suleiman Tawahi. She built a false narrative in her town by sending her only son Alwan to Cairo. She maintained a steadfast wait for her son. She waits for her kid for seventeen years, counting each hour. She has complete faith in her son Alwan to carry out her instructions and kill her husband’s killer.
But as her son Alwan declines, all of her expectations are dashed. Her enduring resolve seems pointless. She views her son’s function as being pointless. Finally, she makes her daring choice. She prepares to have her son killed. Asakir had hoped for her kid her entire life. In order to fulfill her lifelong vow, she keeps her distance from her son. However, she has ultimately failed due to her loss and despair.
The Main Theme of The Play
This drama explores a number of topics, including hope, envy, betrayal, and retribution. The play’s plot contains a variety of themes that touch on human nature and emotions. Here, the primary character Asakir’s long-term desire for retribution is shown to be unfulfilled by her son Alwan, on whom the whole plot depends. Finally, Asakir’s expectations are dashed, and the drama closes in death and sorrow.
Reference Beyond the Context
Is it sensible to take revenge for murder? Why or why not? Justify your answer.
No, seeking retribution for murder is not sane. I believe that seeking vengeance for murder is absurd. Revenge is not the appropriate response to murder. Killing someone for murder only results in negative and unforeseen consequences. People who violate social norms and regulations and conduct crimes must pay a hefty price for their wrongdoing. Nobody can ever live peacefully if they believe in retribution. No amount of retribution can bring the dead back to life. The need for vengeance constantly impairs human mentality and development. It may have far more severe effects on everyone. So, taking revenge for murder is never a wise idea. Human life is destroyed by this idea.
‘Inciting people to kill other people is violence and against the justice and the right of the person to live.’ Explain.
This claim is accurate. The act of inciting someone else to commit a crime is known as incitement in the context of criminal law. Legally, provocation in any or all forms may be forbidden. Anyone, at any time, might suffer harsher results as a result of provocation.
Supporting murder is one of the most severe crimes. Pushing others to commit crimes and engaging in such violent behavior are against the law and violate people’s right to life. Those who incite others to commit crimes are, strictly speaking, the main criminals. These people are like acid that destroys everything. They are thought of as the adversaries of humanity. The majority of persons who are persuaded to engage in illegal conduct suffer unfavorable consequences as a result.
We should thus avoid criminal action and those who encourage it. If someone else is encouraging us to commit a crime, we will have problems in our lives. In the name of humanity, these wrongdoings shouldn’t be perpetrated.