Excerpts from the concept of Grotesque in Mathnavi anecdotes

Grotesque is a kind of literary-artistic genre with a variety of intricate meanings. However, most scholars and researchers have consensually acknowledged its most conspicuous components as follows: transformative, ridiculous, disgusting, and horrifying. Grotesque is a compromise between paradoxes -laughter and what is not aligned with laughter which ultimately results in a comedy-tragedy situation that provokes the audiences’ paradoxical response. Research on grotesque in Western art and literature is very extensive and has been addressed by many theorists and artists. Kaiser and Bakhtin are two great theorists with two different views in this regard. In art and literature of Iran - both classical and modern - many instances including prominent components of grotesque can be mentioned though they are not recognized as the grotesque genre as research studies on this subject is very limited in Iran and are restricted to recent years. The present study aimed at addressing grotesque in the words of one of the greatest poets of classical Persian literature, Mawlana Jalaluddin, whose speech is a brilliant idea with a depth that has not yet been reached. Rumi's Mathnavi-ye-Ma'navi is a raging and boundless sea of transcendent meanings that opens the gates of truth to the thirsty seekers of knowledge and sweetens the wishers of truth with the nectar of knowledge. In Mathnavi, Rumi chooses the form of storytelling to express his thoughts and beliefs and uses a variety of techniques to express his purpose to not only sweeten the bitter advice but also intensify the charm and appeal of his speech. One of these techniques is the use of satire in the narratives, which is a bitter and black humor and has a meaning far beyond the ordinary humor. Rumi is an illustrator of a truth that not only lies in the surface layers of the upside-down, contradictory, deceptive, and wandering world but also has been forgotten for the sake of the cyclical repetition of everyday life. These two aspects of the world - a deceptive appearance and a full-of-truth reality- create a contradiction, whose purpose cannot be described by humor. In this regard, the mysterious world of grotesque is the only means helping us unravel its mystery. Humor is present in most of Masnavi's anecdotes. In some of these anecdotes, the humor is accompanied by the structure, concept, and elements that assimilate it to the concept of grotesque, are no longer intended to make the audience laugh, and are a bittersweet in case of occurrence. Rumi deals with the inner world in humorous anecdotes, confronts these evil forces and powers by depicting the contradictions and dissonances in the inner and outer world, and teaches human the way of self-control and emancipation to attain his true nature and humanity. The present descriptive-analytical study examined the function of this genre in Rumi's thought and beliefs and concluded that the presence of grotesque in Rumi’s anecdotes is indisputable. By contrasting and centralizing personality and situation, using obscene words and erotic literature, realistically expressing the imaginary elements, linking the human and animal elements, and using the elements and themes of grotesque, Rumi illustrates the story of the fall of man into this mortal world and regards it as an initiation toward conscious ascending. Moreover, Rumi contradictory not only expresses the limits of human understanding and his inability to deeply discern the reality but also considers human as a creature of the creator that shares in the good of His essence, can achieve the truth that lies under the guise of sinfulness and has created a rust on the face of godliness with the awareness and disguise of evil, and can ascend to its original position with a wise and wicked love. The use of numerous functions of grotesque in Rumi’s words expresses the profound and insightful mystical notions that lead to true love and human evolution. Among these individual and social contradictions, inconsistencies, and anomalies, Rumi strives to attain salvation and save the human soul from pollution and uncleanness and informs his audience regarding the lack of insight that leads to misunderstanding of the truth.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
65 - 78
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