Blindness and The Book of Kings

In My Name Is Red Master Osman blinds himself with a needle found in  Shahnameh, or the Book of Kings.  The Book of Kings was written by the Persian poet Firdawsi.  It is the national epic of the Persian-speaking world.  When Osman realizes that he cannot prevent the spread of the new, western method of painting, Osman sticks the needle in his eye, causing eventual blindness.   One of the major themes of The Book of Kings is apostasy.  The kingdom and the Temple is destroyed because the kings do not worship just Yahweh (god of Israel).   In My Name Is Red, the manuscript artists are taught that depicting Allah or individuals is against Islam.  Similar to The Book of Kings, the value of the masses, and the community, over the individual runs through My Name Is Red.   My symbolically giving Osman the needle, the Book of Kings is telling him and the reader that the book’s message should be practiced.

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