Volume 14, Issue 3, Autumn 2011, Page 7-370
“War is waste and a searing fire”(1): The Anti-War Theme in Women’s Poetry of World War I, World War II and American Wars in the Middle East
for humanities sciences al qadisiya,
2011, Volume 14, Issue 3, Pages 7-42
It is no mystery that war means loss for all parties. No one can be called a winner because to be called so one must make sacrifices to gain the opponent’s surrender. The war “game,” as Donald A. Wells believes,is a monstrous charade or a gigantic chess gambit which we have played for so long that, like the Roman attitude toward the arena, we have forgotten that the players are persons.(2) The whole “moral fabric”(3) of a nation is twisted to make it believe that murder is heroism. All the teaching that has been dedicated to inspiring respect to other human beings vanishes during wars. Instead, another “code of ethics” (4) is introduced which simply accepts war as “an activity involving nobility or a rugged recklessness"(5) differentiating between “organized murder” (which is war) and “individual murder, which is socially taboo.”(6) The bloodshed, suffering, and horror of wars have awakened poets to responsibility.(7) If Yeats called it “a terrible beauty,”(8) William Sherman (1820-1891) called it “hell” as he comments: “Its glory is all moonshine … War is hell.”(9) Men would argue in a nauseating way though they were believed to be tough. In fact, in spite of all the sordid description of life in the trenches (provided by men), women had proved to have the ‘guts’ for it. A soldier woman-writer, who was the first female to join World War I in Russia, had to endure much of men’s misbehaviour(10) than to endure war itself. However, she, along with her Death Battalion, faced the fact that men were going to abandon them in the field and, therefore, they decided to go forward without their ‘brothers-in-arms’:The line was arranged that men and women alternate, a girl being flanked by two men.We decided to advance in order to shame men, having arrived at the conclusion that they would not let us perish in No Man’s Land.(11)Surprisingly, this incident had actually happened. The media, until this day, had mislead millions of people into believing that women had nothing to do with war. Tangible evidence proved that women led the war. Botchkareva was only one of many: “Ha, ha! Women and officers will fight!” they railed. “They are faking, whoever saw officers go over the top like soldiers, with riffles in hand?” “Just watch those women run!” joked a fellow, to the merriment of a chorus of voices.We gritted our teeth in fury but did not reply. Our hope was still in these men. We stuck to the belief that they would not follow us and, therefore, avoided alienating them.At last the signal was given. We crossed ourselves and, hugging our riffles, leaped out of the trenches …. We moved forward against a withering fire of machine guns and artillery, my brave girls … marching steadily against the hail of bullets.(12)It was women who made it happen!
for humanities sciences al qadisiya,
2011, Volume 14, Issue 3, Pages 43-52
Pygmalion is originally a myth of Cyprus who is a great sculpture. This artist is a misogynist or at least dissatisfied with all the women of Cyprus so he remains a bachelor. He dreams of a perfect woman so he sculptures a marble woman who has been so beautiful that he prays to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to find him a wife as lovely as his statue. Feeling pity for Pygmalion, Aphrodite transforms the lifeless statue into a real woman whom Pygmalion marries.Thus, the keynote for the myth itself and almost the whole later works inspired by this myth is the transformation that takes place to the female character whether a statue or a woman. In the myth, the divine power of the goddess transforms the cold ivory into a warm, living woman. In the other works, transformation is also applicable because a naïve girl is transformed into a lady with different speech, behaviour, attitude, and knowledge. This myth has had a long and various literary adaptations beginning with the Roman Ovid's Metamorphoses to John Marston's The Metamorphosis of Pygmalion's Image (1598), Thomas L. Beddoes' Pygmalion (1825), and W.S. Gilbert's Pygmalion and Galatea (1871). (1)This same myth has inspired the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw ( 1856-1950) whose Pygmalion (1912) reflects his dramatic genius because the ancient myth has been developed, almost out of recognition, into a lifelike and modern play. Furthermore, among other adaptations of the myth, Shaw's Pygmalion is the most widespread and memorable play. Moreover, one of the most famous Egyptian dramatists inspired by this myth is Tawfiq Al-Hakim (1898-1987). Interestingly, this influential Arab playwright and writer is known to be a misogynist in his early years remaining a bachelor for an unusually long period of time. He is given the epithet "Enemy of Woman". This is probably one of the primary causes that attracts his attention to the myth but his play Pygmalion (1942), unlike Shaw's Pygmalion which has a realistic approach, deals with the myth from philosophical, psychological, and metaphysical points of view.(2) This paper examines the two approaches of Shaw and Al-Hakim to see how these dramatists apply the motif "transformation" in a way that serves the dramatic purpose of each.